Chief Design Officer for Land Rover
As Chief Design Officer for Land Rover, Gerry McGovern creates some of the world’s most distinctive and desirable vehicles and is recognised as one of the world’s critically acclaimed automotive design leaders.
After completing a degree in industrial design at Coventry University, McGovern went on to study for a Masters at the Royal College of Art in London, specialising in automotive design. He began his career at Chrysler in the UK, followed by a stint in Detroit, before returning to the UK as a Senior Designer for Peugeot and later joining the Rover Group. Through this period he was the lead designer of the critically acclaimed MGF sports car, the Land Rover Freelander - the bestselling compact SUV in Europe for 7 years, and led the team that created the third generation Range Rover. McGovern then moved to the Ford Motor Company to head up and rejuvenate the Lincoln-Mercury brands, setting up studios in Detroit and Irvine, California. In this role he was responsible for several award winning concept vehicles that were pivotal in establishing a relevant design strategy for modern day Lincoln vehicles. He returned to the UK to run a design consultancy in London, developing design and communication strategies for several automotive brands.
McGovern re-joined Land Rover in 2004 as Director, Advanced Design, and was appointed as Land Rover Design Director in 2006. Since then his position has grown to include the role of Chief Design Officer and he is an Executive member of the Jaguar Land Rover Board.
Currently, he and his team are in the process of creating an entire new generation of Land Rovers, redefining the brand and building on established heritage to make the product range relevant to the 21st Century. The phenomenally successful Range Rover Evoque, developed from the globally-acclaimed LRX concept vehicle, was the first complete manifestation of McGovern’s design strategy since his return from the USA. This vehicle has not only changed the fortunes of the brand but has also helped bring about a cultural change within the business, bringing design to the core of the business. The Evoque is our fastest selling Range Rover ever. This was followed by the all-new Range Rover, which launched to critical acclaim in September 2012, and the all-new Range Rover Sport, unveiled in New York in March 2013.
In 2014 McGovern and his team developed the dramatic Discovery Vision Concept that was revealed in New York and Shanghai simultaneously, followed in 2015 by the Discovery Sport, the first member of Land Rover new family of Discoverys, designed and engineered to be the World’s most versatile premium company SUV. The second member of the Discovery family, the new Discovery, was launched in 2016.
In 2017 the Range Rover Velar was launched at the Design Museum, London bringing a new dimension of glamour and elegance to the Range Rover family. Designed to fill the white space between the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport, this was a new type of Range Rover for a new type of customer. It went onto win World Car Designer of the Year in New York 2018. In the same year McGovern was recognised by his peers at the prestigious International Festival Automobile in Paris where he was awarded the Design Grand Prize for his contribution to automotive design.
More recently McGovern unveiled the new Range Rover Evoque to a global audience in London. Evoque is a modern and highly desirable interpretation of the original, from its unique exterior silhouette to the calm sanctuary of its interior. The new Evoque is set to take the world by storm.
Responsible for guiding and visioning the future of this great British brand, McGovern is currently leading the team to develop opportunities to grow the business into new areas as well as the challenge of replacing icons such as the Defender. As Chief Design Officer McGovern’s wider remit is to guide all aspects of visual communications ensuring a consistent look and feel between vehicles and identity of the brand.
McGovern's passion for design reaches much further than the automotive industry; he is an authority on modern architecture and furniture as well as a collector of contemporary art. In October 2014 he was announced as a Visiting Professor at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London, demonstrating his commitment to design education. His remit will be to inspire a future generation of designers having committed his expertise to the college. The college’s new professor will deliver a number of seminars to Masters Students in which he will share his passion for design leadership and pass on his wealth of knowledge. In 2016 McGovern was awarded Honorary Doctor of Arts by Coventry University. Of the award McGovern said. “While travelling the world working at the highest level in automotive design I have never forgotten my Coventry roots, so it is a great privilege to be bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Coventry University. It gives me a great sense of pride to be recognised by the city where I was brought up and my parents would have been very proud”.
McGovern has sat on many panels judging design, presented at numerous prominent international automotive and business events. His high profile status positions him perfectly as the figure head of the Land Rover brand at a global level.