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US: Top Ford chassis guru to retire

By just-auto.com editorial team | 19 October 2007

A top Ford engineer widely acclaimed for his chassis engineering skills is to retire.

Ford has announced that Richard Parry-Jones, group vice president and chief technical officer, will retire on 31 December.

Parry-Jones's present responsibilities will be assumed by Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, global product development, and members of the global product development leadership team. In particular, Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, research & advanced engineering, will assume the role of chief technical officer in addition to his present responsibilities.

Parry-Jones, 56, is known throughout the industry for his expertise in vehicle development - particularly in the area of driving dynamics and refinement. He also is highly regarded for his work on product safety and environmental initiatives.

He was named "Man of the Year" in 1994 by the top British publication car enthusiasts magazine Autocar (primarily for his work on the excellent ride and handling of the original European Mondeo launched a year earlier), and in 1997 by the US magazine Automobile. In 2001, he received the Golden Gear Award for outstanding automotive achievement from the Washington Automotive Press Association.

"In his more than 30 years at Ford Motor Company, Richard has made outstanding contributions to the development of our new products," said Ford president and chief executive officer Alan Mulally.

"Richard's feel for the customer and technical expertise has helped improve all of our brands, and his drive and determination have been a great inspiration to our engineers as we have accelerated the development of our new products that people really want and value."

Parry-Jones is an elected fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In 1995, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Loughborough University in the UK for his contributions to the motor industry and engineering education and training. He also was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Cranfield University in June 2007.

In 2005 he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the UK New Year honours list for services to the automobile industry.  In 2006, Parry-Jones was appointed to chair a new group to provide the Welsh assembly government with independent advice on economic and transport

Since 2001, Parry-Jones has been a visiting professor within the department of aeronautical and automotive engineering at Loughborough University.