An appliance maker in the region has named a new executive to oversee its global design team.
Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corporation said this week it hired J Mays as VP and chief design officer, effective Oct. 15.
Known internationally for his automotive designs, Mays brings a “proven” and “high-profile” talent to the company, according to Whirlpool.
“J Mays joining Whirlpool Corporation represents the merging of an iconic home appliance leader and a respected and influential designer,” said Roberto Campos, head of the company's Global Product Organization.
Mays has worked on numerous design projects over the years, driving concept and design work at Audi, Volkswagen, BMW and Ford Motor Company.
“Throughout my career, I’ve learned the importance of finding an emotional connection with the customer,” Mays said. “My interests extend far beyond automobile design and that’s why this opportunity caught my eye. I look forward to leading and collaborating with the already strong Whirlpool Global Consumer Design team.”
Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer said Mays’ appointment will help the company maintain its “approach, philosophy and vision” when it comes to design.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring J’s leadership to our accomplished teams to help them set the design direction of our product portfolio around the world,” Bitzer said.
Mays’ responsibilities will include “translating” consumer insights, needs and wants, along with influential trends, into next-generation product design concepts.
Working with all regions and key stakeholders, he will own and lead design strategy and execution across all product platforms and categories, including advanced design and user experience design.
Prior to joining Whirlpool Corporation, Mays was group VP of global design and chief creative officer at Ford Motor Company.
Recently, Mays has served in various consulting and advisory roles, including to the motion picture industry.
He is also a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London.
Born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, he studied automotive design at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) is a leading home appliance company.
The company markets numerous global brands: Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, JennAir, Indesit and others.
In 2017, Whirlpool reported about $21 billion in sales and had 92,000 employees and 70 manufacturing and technology research centers worldwide.