Nissan Design Europe to appoint Godber successor

Nissan Design Europe is poisedto replace its general managerDavid Godber, who defected tothe Design Council last month.The carmaker is expected toname an internal candidate forthe post, possibly from itsPerceived Quality department.

Vice-president AlfonsoAlbaisa declines to comment onwhether Perceived Qualityman ager Paul Garside is in therunning for the position. Hesays, however, that Garside‘possesses the rare combina -tion of technical, business andhuman resource skills that areideal for a general manager ofbusiness aspects’.

The Perceived Quality depart -ment works with designers andengineers on sketches,prototypes and production cars,identifying lines, shapes ortextures that need to betreated with care so as not toappear ‘cheap’ to consumers.Nissan Design Europe iscurrently working on its first carfor the Japanese market.Historically, the studio hasdesigned models for Europeanmarkets only, but this looks setto change.

‘Nissan Design Europe isincreasingly being used byJapan as a creative centre,doing non-European designprojects for the first time,’ saysAlbaisa. ‘We are changing thedirection of the centre, and wewant to become more advan -ced and much more creative.’

He claims that the centre’sremit increasingly includes earlydevelopmental phase work,with fewer final engineeringdesign assignments. The studioworks on about 11 projects ayear, with productivity up byabout 20 per cent since 2006.

The new general managerwill report to Albaisa, whojoined the company as a des -igner in 1988 and took controlof the Paddington-based designstudio (pictured) last April as itsfirst non-Japanese vicepresident.

The director of design postwas dissolved when StefanSchwartz left Nissan in Decem -ber. Atsushi Maeda subse -quently became chief designerand Schwartz’s responsibilitiespassed to Albaisa

Godber is now deputy chiefexecutive of the DesignCouncil.


  • Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Nissan Design Europe yesterday to support plans that will reshape production at the Japanese carmaker’s Sunderland factory
  • Nissan Design Europe was founded in 2003. It occupies the Rotunda in Paddington Waterside, London W2, a former British Rail vehicle maintenance depot
  • Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) was established in 1984 to supply cars to European markets
  • The Japanese design centre at Atsugi employs about 700 people, compared to the 41 fixed and approximately 30 freelance employees based at Nissan Design Europe

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