Australian designer Max Wolff has been dropped from the lead design role at Lincoln, with British designer David Woodhouse serving as his successor. Wolff, who left Cadillac four years ago to join Lincoln and is credited with the designs of the MKZ and MKC, will serve as chief of exterior design at Lincoln.

Woodhouse, who like Wolff was previously a designer for Cadillac, is a veteran in the design world and at one point was in charge of design for Ford Motor Company’s [NYSE:F] former Premier Automotive Group, which included brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. More recently he was in charge of Ford’s advanced design studio in California.

No reason for the shakeup at Lincoln design has been revealed, but analyst and former Ford product planner John Wolkonowicz has revealed to Bloomberg that Wolff was keen to see Lincoln products further differentiated from their Ford platform mates and may have "encountered resistance.” Wolkonowicz also revealed that the sharing of parts and platforms between Ford and Lincoln was part of the ‘One Ford’ plan for increased commonality of vehicles across the company, which he says is sacred to Ford because it helped it turn around its fortunes.

The coming year is an important one for Lincoln which will be starting sales in China and launching new products like the 2015 MKC and 2015 Navigator. As these models are already complete, one of the first Lincolns we’ll likely see Woodhouse’s influence on is the next-generation MKS.

Previous cars designed under Woodhouse’s watch include the Ford Shelby GR-1 concept from 2005, the Lincoln Continental Concept from 2002 and the original Land Rover Freelander. In his spare time he likes to restore and race classic race cars, competing in events like the Goodwood Revival.


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