Current Jaguar Land Rover chief creative officer, Gerry McGovern, has caused controversy with his comments in an interview before Christmas. Speaking to AutoNews Europe, the MGF and Freelander designer said he was looking forward to helping make Jaguar “wonderful again” by freeing it from the “constraints it had in the past.”

McGovern’s role as JLR design boss comes a little over a year after the retirement of Ian Callum CBE, who dispensed with the marque’s traditional retro styling in the mid-2000s in favour of a more contemporary design language epitomised by the XF saloon, and is often credited with revolutionising the brand.

The comments made by Gerry McGovern didn’t go down very well on social media, with many believing they were a dig at the Callum regime. Indeed, Callum took to Twitter in repose to the interview to say “he hasn’t got much to do then…”

Gerry McGovern

Ian Callum CBE

Callum also commented that it had never been design that held Jaguar back of late, but volume and costs. “Gerry can’t sort that,” he added. “Jaguar has won more design awards than Land Rover. And tell me, what is so old fashioned about an XE, F Pace or indeed an F Type?”

McGovern’s recent work includes the reborn Land Rover Defender, so it will be interesting to see what he has up his sleeve for Jaguar.