A sudden abdication, with no heir apparent.
Rolls-Royce, the British ultra-luxury marque that is synonymous with things like luxury, opulence, and slow reaction times. If Volkswagen describes itself as a "supertanker," Rolls-Royce is a glacier, preferring deftness of execution over razor-sharp reflexes. Historically, this calm, calculated pace has reflected in the way Rolls-Royce executes its management decisions, with departing senior executives usually lining up heirs to the reins long before their departure.
So you can imagine our surprise when it was announced that Giles Taylor, the head of design at the Goodwood firm, had vacated his position at the company to “pursue alternative business interests.”
Taylor’s history with the brand is illustrious: Since he joined in 2011 to head the exterior design department, he’s been responsible for testaments to Rolls-Royce design principles in the form of the Phantom VIII and the Cullinan. Prior to his induction, Taylor had served at Jaguar for 14 years, prior to which he was attached to French companies Peugeot and Citroen.
Many will be saddened by Taylor’s departure, as he’s credited with the realignment of Rolls-Royce’s design direction, putting the company firmly into the 21st century. Love them or hate them, the new Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII and Cullinan are both very contemporary machines, marrying decades-old company traditions to state-of-the-art technological innovations.
Rolls-Royce has said in a statement that a successor to Taylor will be announced in due course.