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Whos Where: Victor Nacif, VP Design, Nissan Design Europe

Thu, 06 May 2010 00:00:00 -0700

Victor Nacif started his new role as Vice President of Design at Nissan Design Europe last month, having recently relocated from San Diego, California. Car Design News caught up with Nacif, an avid racing fan, at last weekend's FIA GT1 World Championship race at Silverstone, in which a Nissan GT-R piloted by team Sumo Power garnered the win.

Nacif comes to NDE following a six-year stint at Nissan Design America where he held the role of Vice President of Design Business Aspects. During his tenure he was responsible for managing support, improving processes and creating an effective business for the company's design initiatives. He was instrumental in improving the efficiency of NDA as well as introducing the Mexicali mill operations in Mexicali, Mexico. "The brief was to make [NDA] a good operation from a business standpoint," Nacif told CDN.

Born in Mexico City, Nacif moved to Detroit at the age of nine and later attended CCS. Upon graduation, he joined Ford Motor Co. as a designer, but was lured away by an enticing proposition from PSA. Nacif returned to Ford as a Senior Designer in 1988 and eventually earned the role of Design Manager before again returning to Peugeot as Chief Designer in 1997. He became Design Director at the French brand in 2000, a position he held until he joined Nissan in 2004.

In his new role as VP of Design at NDE Nacif will have to stimulate the creativity of the designers on staff, but he doesn't deem that to be an issue. "This team is really, really good," Nacif said. "They're productive and winning programs. My role is to find ways to continually advance NDE, but also the business."

Nacif's educational background is interesting when it comes to accomplishing that task: he has studied business management at both HEC in France and Stanford University in the US. But his placement at what is arguably the core of Nissan's design operations will be essential as well. "I sleep only three hours a night," Nacif confesses. "With the difference in time zones I'm able to communicate with Alfonso [Albaisa] in California at night and exchange emails with Tokyo in the morning. The rest of the time I like to read. I read a lot."

Like many of his colleagues at Nissan, Nacif is passionate about sports and classic cars. He currently owns a Lotus Europa and an Exige S (that he's saving for his son), but had to sell his Ferrari Maranello before coming to the UK. "I've got a Lotus 2-Eleven and a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera on my wish list," he told CDN. "But I've driven a few GT-Rs and I really like them. I may be able to negotiate some sort of deal," he added coyly.

Speaking with Nacif, it's obvious to see the passion he possesses for the brand and the design industry in particular. "Frankly, I'm at the happiest time in my life - my role is to support and mentor this new generation of creative talents that will be the future leaders of Nissan Design."

By Eric Gallina