Rolls-Royce has lost its second design boss in less than a year and a half as Jozef Kabaň has announced his departure after six months on the job.
In June 2018, Giles Taylor also resigned as Rolls-Royce’s head of design and later announced a surprise move to China’s Hongqi. His successor, Jozef Kabaň, has now left the British automaker and the BMW Group said it was “with immediate effect to pursue other interests.” We’ll no doubt hear more about those plans in the coming weeks and months.
“Although Jozef has been with Rolls-Royce for a very short period we thank him for his input during his tenure. We wish him the best for the future,” said Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. The company added that an announcement regarding his successor will be made in due course.
Before joining Rolls-Royce in March 2019, Jozef Kabaň had been the design boss of the BMW brand since February 2017, reporting to BMW Group design chief Adrian van Hooydonk. Prior to that, he was the design chief at VW’s Skoda unit, where he oversaw the rejuvenation of the Czech brand with cars such as the third-generation Octavia and Superb.
However, Kabaň’s best-known work is the exterior design of the Bugatti Veyron he created shortly after starting his career in 1999 with the VW Group. From 2003, he became Audi’s head of exterior design.
It is possible that Kabaň found the job at Rolls-Royce less dynamic than he was used too, given the British brand’s long life cycles and the fact that the lineup was pretty much refreshed when he arrived. The all-new Phantom launched in 2017, followed by the Cullinan SUV in 2018.
The only significant launch expected in the near future is the all-new Ghost, which should arrive next year. However, chances are he didn’t have much say in the styling of of the model as next-generation Ghost prototypes were already on the road when he became Rolls-Royce’s head of design in March 2019.
Note: 2001 Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron Concept pictured