Lincoln Design Boss David Woodhouse Resigns Abruptly

The man who helped breathe new life into the styling of Lincoln vehicles as brand design director has left the company.

David Woodhouse, who was also Ford’s director of global strategic design since 2017, has resigned from the U.S. automaker. His move leaves more questions than answers as it’s unclear why he left given the successful overhaul of Lincoln’s lineup.

In a private Facebook post seen by Autonews, Woodhouse calls it a “difficult decision,” especially given his personal investment in Lincoln. “Ending a long-standing relationship with a corporation is just like ending a personal relationship multiplied by the number of wonderful friends and colleagues,” the designer wrote without elaborating.

Also read: Former Rolls-Royce Design Boss Lands Job At China’s Hongqi

The Lincoln Motor Company confirmed the split via a spokeswoman who said Woodhouse “elected to leave the company.” However, she did not provide more details.

Woodhouse has been with Ford Motor Company since 1999 when he was appointed chief designer at Premier Automotive Group, which at the time was the division that included luxury brands such as Lincoln, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin.

Following other design duties within Ford, he was named director of design at Lincoln from December 2013 and director of global strategic design at Ford from June 2017. The timing for the latter promotion coincides with Jim Hackett’s appointment as Ford CEO.

During his tenure at Lincoln, Woodhouse helped turn around the brand using new styling which adopts a philosophy the company labels “quiet flight.” Notable Lincoln designs in which Woodhouse was involved include the C Concept, Continental Concept, Mk9 Coupe and Aviator Concept. For Ford, he had a hand in the styling of the Shelby GR1, Airstream, and Reflex concept studies.

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  • Bobby Lee

    Lincoln seems to chew up designers. Is there a corporate culture issue?

    • SgtBeavis

      While it might not apply to this specific case, Ford’s corp culture is again on the decline after Mulally had kinda fixed it.

  • Dog eat Dog

    PAG also had Aston Martin under it’s wing during those years too.

    Pity Ford’s style of management couldn’t/wouldn’t give PAG the time needed before they started to dismantle it. 7 years is not even enough time to develop a human child into an adult let alone any grand-plan car business.

    Then again 20yrs on it now sometimes looks like Ford is happy to be it’s own target of vehicle range strategy dismantlement etc.

  • nastinupe

    His designs were decent, however, I always preferred Cadillac designs, especially their recent ones.

    • Rasta_Farian

      I think you’ll find yourself in the minority around these parts of the interwebs…

      • Nastinupe1911

        I replied several times but my posts were taken down because of other website references, however, take a look at the two companies sales numbers and you see who’s actually selling more vehicles. The Escalade STILL outsells the Navigator in 2019, even with the Escalade being long in the tooth and Navigator being newly redesigned. The CT6 still outsells the Continental.

    • paulgdeaton

      You’ve got to be kidding….

    • Astonman

      I prefer Cadillac’s exteriors – well maybe not too much of the CT-5 because of the C pillar, but the interiors of the Lincoln’s are hands down my favorite. Just checked them out yesterday again.

  • Marc Gruben

    Wouldn’t it be wild if it turns out Cadillac hired him?

    • SgtBeavis

      It would be a step in the right direction. He certainly righted the ship at Lincoln.

  • SgtBeavis

    It’s not the end of the world, yet. Woodhouse FINALLY got Lincoln going in the right direction by embracing its American Luxury design heritage. They need to keep building on that and there is still a lot of room for improvement. The interior designs are what make Lincoln great these days, even with the excessive chrome. Exteriors are a lot better but still need work. The Conti is a nice but safe design. I’d like it to be a bit more daring. I’m hoping Woodhouse’s successor takes more chances.

  • Rocket

    Too bad for Lincoln. After years of tinkering, they finally found a cohesive look that works in all sizes.

  • Stephen G

    Forgot how beautiful the MK9 is.


  • Paulbe

    Maybe polishing turds gets a bit wearisome after a while.

  • MarkoS

    Jaguar perhaps?

  • Six_Tymes

    A big loss. He is so talented.

    • Bo Hanan

      He was doing very well.

  • Ken Lyns

    Could be as simple as having slept with the wrong secretary. We may never know.

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