Frank Stephenson is out, Rob Melville is in.
It was rumoured last week that now former McLaren design boss Frank Stephenson would be headed back to Mini, where he served as Chief Designer until 2002. While that report has yet to be confirmed, we do know for sure that Stephenson is done at McLaren.
The company announced publicly that Rob Melville would be appointed McLaren's new Design Director. Melville was responsible for the Sports Series and second-generation super series of cars before the promotion, which included the P1, 650S, 675LT, 570S, and most recently, he lead the design team of the new 720S.
Melville joined McLaren in 2009 as Senior Designer. Before then, he worked at Jaguar Land Rover as part of the Advanced Design team, responsible for penning the Range Rover Evoque. In 2006, Melville joined General Motors in the U.K. as Senior Creative Designer, in that time helping design cars like the Cadillac Converj, Chevrolet Corvette, and Hummer H2.
As McLaren’s new Design Director, Melville will oversee the design of 14 new models before 2022 as part of the Track22 business plan totaling $1.4 billion USD. The plan will likely include a new "LT" sub-brand, an electric supercar, and a possible P1 replacement.
“I am thrilled to be given the title of Design Director for McLaren Automotive,” said Melville in a statement. "I remember when I got the call to come and join McLaren back in 2009 and the joy I felt then is the same today. We have developed a fantastic design team and have integrated a design philosophy that I feel passionately about. I have always believed that great design tells a great story and that is what we do here at McLaren. I’m incredibly proud.”
Melville will continue to introduce the current design DNA found in the 720S throughout the rest of the future lineup.