The man at the head of Mazda's design studios in Irvine, CA, Franz von Holzhausen, has left the company to lead Tesla's design unit. His first two challenges will include the 'Model S' sedan and an affordable sport compact EV, but after more than three years as the lead designer for Mazda's highly regarded concept and production vehicles, he's reportedly looking forward to the greater flexibility the smaller company will offer.

Tesla's leadership has been looking for a lead designer for its next two vehicles, wanting to give the company's more prolifically produced cars a unique look. That requires in-house design - the Roadster was designed by Lotus - and von Holzhausen was reportedly the company's first choice. He resigned from Mazda on Thursday of last week according to a report by Car Design News, and is already tasked with setting up a complete design team.

The location of the new Tesla design center hasn't been established, but von Holzhausen wants it to be in the Los Angeles area to draw on the large pool of design talent. Tesla is expected to set up a whole new facility to house its newly founded design unit.

For background on the cars that von Holzhausen will be tasked with crafting appearances for, check out or previous stories.