The man who led the design of the 720S is now the Design Director of McLaren.
Rumors have been rife that McLaren’s former Design Director Frank Stephenson is no longer working for the British automaker and has returned to Mini where he worked as Chief Designer until 2002. He also worked for Ferrari where he oversaw the design of the F430 Scuderia and Maserati MC12. While reports that Stephenson is returning to Mini have yet to be confirmed, McLaren has announced his departure from the company. Filling Stephenson’s role as new Design Director is Rob Melville - a name that should be familiar with McLaren affectionados.
Having joined McLaren in 2009 as a Senior Designer, Melville was promoted to Chief Designer in 2014. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, be rest assured that this is very good news. Before the promotion, Melville helped design cars in the Sports Series and second-generation Super range including the 650S, 675LT, 570S and the potent P1. More recently, he led the design of the 720S. Considering that some regard the 720S as one of most stunning supercars on sale today, McLaren’s future design direction should be in very safe hands as the company plans to unleash 14 new models or variants of existing models by 2022 as part of the automaker’s $1.4 billion Track22 business plan.
This means Melville will be overseeing the designs of McLaren’s new LT sub-brand, an electric supercar and the P1’s future successor. “I am thrilled to be given the title of Design Director for McLaren Automotive,” said Melville. “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.” Before joining McLaren, Melville worked for Jaguar Land Rover.
His design sketches at Jaguar Land Rover were chosen for the LRX Concept which paved the way for the Evoque. He then joined GM as a Senior Designer where he helped design the Cadillac Converj Concept, Chevrolet Corvette, and Hummer H2.