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Land Rover’s Chief Creative Officer provides RCA students with an insight into the business of design

'Gerry McGovern has done for Land Rover what Tom Ford did for Gucci and what Jony Ive did for Apple.'  

– Vice-Chancellor, Dr Paul Thompson

On 20 May, over 500 RCA students located in 30 countries joined RCA alumnus and Land Rover Chief Creative Officer, Professor Gerry McGovern OBE, for a student-exclusive webinar on the business of design.

As both a Car Designer and the Chief Creative Officer for Land Rover, Professor McGovern is responsible for envisaging the Land Rover brand in its totality: for both the vehicle designs and the look and feel of the brand, as well as the way that it is communicated to customers globally. In a captivating presentation to students, Professor McGovern, talked about his early influences, the companies he has worked with and what he has learnt over his international career. And how his real passion has been with the Land Rover brand, working for the company on two separate occasions. Discussing the development of their latest vehicle, the New Land Rover Defender, he gave insight on the critical role design played in recognising its rich heritage, but not being harnessed by it – creating a New Defender for a new generation.

Influenced by growing up in Coventry in the 1960s – a city that was rebuilt after the Second World War in a modern international style – Professor McGovern felt that Coventry was a city that was designed looking forward and not back. And it was while he was growing up in Coventry, that he realised that he wanted to be involved in the world of creativity. 

Professor McGovern said he would have been quite happy to be an architect, a painter, or a graphic designer, but it was upon seeing a book about further education in art and design-related professions that featured the RCA when he worked out exactly what he wanted to be:

'I remember seeing the Royal College of Art, and I can remember seeing some students at the time drawing cars. Well that to me was what I wanted to do. And so eventually, I studied at the Royal College of Art.'

Before taking questions from students, Professor McGovern generously provided RCA students with key insights that were important to him as he progressed to a leadership role. He left students with 'I truly believe that design has the ability to transform business whilst enriching people’s lives.'

We thank Professor McGovern and Land Rover for providing students with the opportunity to learn from, and engage with, one of the world’s leading designers.