Jaguar Land Rover has appointed Matt Becker, one of the UK’s most respected vehicle engineers, to lead the development of the new breed of electrified Jaguars and Land Rovers.
Matt Becker joins JLR at the end of January following a seven-year stint at Aston Martin as Chief Engineer – Vehicle Attribute Engineering, overseeing the development of the DBX SUV plus the Vantage and DB11, and their various derivatives. Becker will take on the role of Vehicle Engineering Director across both Jaguar and Land Rover.
Becker joins JLR team as they begin a total reinvention of Jaguar, moving it into a fully electric luxury brand. He’ll also put his experience of luxury SUVs to good use with the continual development of Land Rover products with electrification at their heart, too.
Speaking about Becker’s arrival, JLR’s Executive Director of Vehicle Programmes, Nick Collins, said, “I‘m 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.”
Becker commented, “I’m very excited to be joining Jaguar Land Rover, especially the engineering leadership team as they continue to deliver world class products to Jaguar and Land Rover customers. I have looked with admiration at the work the team achieved on many vehicles over the recent past, appreciating the level of technical excellence and vehicle dynamics know-how that is required to make Land Rover and Jaguar products handle in the manner they do.”
Becker left Aston Martin in the summer of 2021 and was immediately placed on gardening leave, being widely expected to join McLaren. However, Auto Express understands that Becker found the opportunity to work across some of the UK’s biggest car brands too good to resist.
As Becker arrives at JLR, the company is also saying goodbye to its legendary chassis guru Mike Cross, who’ll be retiring after 37 years with the business. Cross has held many roles across the business, most recently as Vehicle Targets and Sign-Off director and is widely acknowledged as being the man behind the world-leading blend of ride and handling that Jaguar and Land Rover products are renowned for.
Paying tribute to Cross, Nick Collins said, “’Mike is that rarest combination of a modest, approachable leader and renowned industry legend. He has played an intrinsic part in the story of our two brands, having joined Land Rover Vehicle Development in 1978 as a young engineer – progressing to Chief Engineer Vehicle Integrity. He has been instrumental in evaluating programmes from a customer perspective and guiding the development of our cars for both brands.
“His technical expertise and extraordinary road-feel have been crucial in refining the outstanding driving qualities of our world-class portfolio. We can credit Mike’s creativity, talent and driving passion for the development of vehicles which are critically acclaimed in the media and consistently praised by our customers the world over.”
Speaking as he approaches retirement at the end of February, Mike Cross said, “’I have had a wonderful career at Jaguar Land Rover, joining Jaguar Rover Triumph as a student apprentice. Approaching retirement age, 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 One car at a pre-season test and competing in the Mille Miglia in a Jaguar C-type will last forever.”