Matt Becker joins JLR as Mike Cross retires

Ex-Aston Martin chassis boss to lead JLR engineering but won't replace Cross, who leaves after 37 years.

By Felix Page, Autocar UK calendar 21 Jan 2022 Views icon6829 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

One of Jaguar Land Rover's most senior and longest-serving engineers, Mike Cross, has announced his retirement after 37 years at the company, while Aston Martin engineer Matt Becker joins the team.

Cross, whose official title is vehicle targets and sign-off director, has been responsible for some of the company's most pivotal models during his tenure. Jaguar Land Rover highlights his efforts in developing its first plug-in hybrids and his "defining role in the development of Jaguar’s distinctive handling and driving character".

Ahead of his departure on 28 February, Cross said: "I have had a wonderful career at Jaguar Land Rover, joining Jaguar Rover Triumph as a student apprentice. I never expected that I would have been so involved in the development and engineering of some of the most iconic cars in the automotive industry.

"As a chief engineer, I relished the responsibility of evaluating new products through the eyes of the Jaguar and Land Rover customers. This role allowed me to drive lots of cars and meet many people, like Richard Parry-Jones and Sir Jackie Stewart - both of whom I shall be forever grateful to as they became mentors and helped me to develop as a vehicle evaluator and development engineer.

"Personal highlights across my career are many; however, memories of driving a Jaguar Formula 1 car at a pre-season test and competing in the Mille Miglia in a Jaguar C-Type will last forever."

Vehicle programmes boss Nick Collins hailed Cross's 37-year contribution as "an intrinsic part in the story of our two brands" and said he has been "instrumental in evaluating programmes from a customer perspective and guiding the development of our cars". 

Later this month, on 28 January, Jaguar Land Rover will welcome Matt Becker to its engineering leadership team. Previously, it was reported that Becker was leaving his role at Aston Martin after six years to join McLaren - a move that never came to pass.

As Aston's CEO for vehicle attributes, Becker had a big influence on the development of nearly all of the cars in the firm's ambitious Second Century plan, including the Vantage, DBS and, perhaps most significantly, the now best-selling DBX SUV. 

Before Aston, he was chief test and development engineer at Lotus. 

Importantly, though Becker's official job title has yet to be revealed, he will not replace Cross. His role will be to guide vehicle engineering and programme management, reporting to the eventual replacement for engineering boss Nick Rogers, who left late last year.

Collins said: "I am thrilled to be welcoming Matt Becker to the Jaguar Land Rover team. Matt is a highly skilled and experienced engineer, and he has a great reputation for vehicle dynamics and engineering expertise.

"Matt’s appointment further strengthens our ability to deliver the 'Reimagine' strategy with a focus on quality and performance throughout a vehicle programme from product concept through to launch and beyond."

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