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Who's Where: Ralph Gilles to become Vice President of Design at Chrysler

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 00:00:00 -0700

The retirement of seasoned Chrysler designer Trevor Creed has opened the doors for Ralph Gilles, who has been appointed Vice President of Design starting September 1 this year. In his new position, Gilles will be responsible for all activities of Chrysler's Product Design Office and will report to Frank O. Klegon, Executive Vice President of Product Development.

It's no secret that Gilles as big plans for Chysler. One of his first tasks will be to reinvent the brand's design language. "We're done with the 'Edge' look," the 38 year old designer said in an interview. Under his leadership, Chrysler will be pursuing a more sensual look, with the Dodge Zeo and Chrysler ecoVoyager concepts hinting at the look of forthcoming products.

Gilles, who has filled various design roles at Chrysler since joining the company in 1992, is currently Vice-President Design for Jeep/Truck Color & Trim and Specialty Vehicles, where he has been overseeing the design of the Dodge and Chrysler minivans and the 2009 Dodge Ram. Over the span of his career, Gilles served as the primary interior designer for the Viper GTS/R, Dodge Intrepid and the Jeep Jeepster concept vehicles as well as the production versions of the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Viper. Most notably, Gilles is recognized for having led the design teams responsible for the Chrysler 300C and the Dodge Charger and Magnum.

Born in New York, Gilles earned a bachelor's degree in Transportation Design at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit before pursuing a Master's degree in Business Administration at Michigan State. An automotive enthusiast, Gilles also leads Mopar Underground, a group that creates niche concepts for SEMA and other specialty shows, and sits on Chrysler's Street & Racing Technology (SRT) Board of Directors. He is also on the Advisory Board of The School of Industrial Design at CCS, where he taught Senior Transportation Design from 2003 to 2005.

By Eric Gallina