J Mays, Ford Motor Co. group vice president for design, will move to London in February and add a new title: chief creative officer.

Peter Horbury, former Volvo design chief, will remain in charge of North American design while Martin Smith will run Ford's European design operations.

Mays' new posting is so he can work more closely with designers at Ford's Premier Automotive Group - including Ian Callum at Jaguar and Geoff Upex at Land Rover - and at Volvo. Volvo is searching for a designer to replace Henrik Otto, who left the company earlier this year.

"They're going to let me spend a couple of years in London, which is something I've been pushing hard," Mays said in an interview with Automotive News Europe.

He said he has been a "big fan of London" since Ford opened its Ingeni studio there three years ago.

"London is ground zero for media creativity," he said. "There is more going on in media design and graphic design there. I hope to add more creative spark to the brands by looking at these areas."

Mays will probably be located at Ford's London office in Soho. He said: "What we're doing is trying to work on the next decade of design direction for each of the individual brands."

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