Mazda has recently selected Kevin Rice as their new European design director. Rice will replace Peter Birthwhistle who will retire after being with Mazda Europe for 26 years.
Rice himself joined Mazda Europe in the 1990s as creative director at Mazda's European R&D Center in Oberusel, Germany for 5 years. Afterwards, he joined BMW, where he stayed for 14 years; having worked on the current 3 Series and 4 Series.
Birthwhistle himself joined Mazda in 1988 and led Mazda Europe's design department since mid-1999. He played a key role in the design of the 'KODO-Soul of Motion' that is now used on current Mazda models.
"Mazda has a long tradition in Europe for its stand-out designs and is considered the most European of Japanese brands. This is in large part thanks to Peter’s passion for design and for cars. I would like to thank him for his contribution to Mazda’s success, and am certain we can continue to count on Peter’s support and expertise. That said, we are fortunate to have a successor of such great talent. Kevin will continue Peter’s work, giving Mazda the necessary continuity while at the same time representing a new generation of designers," said Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO Jeff Guyton.