Four years ago, Jaguar Land Rover inaugurated its Special Operations division, and named longtime executive John Edwards to run it. Now Edwards is leaving, and the automaker has named his replacement.
Starting in June (after Edwards leaves), the division will be run by Michael van der Sande. The Dutch executive has served in key marketing rolls at Bentley/Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Tesla, and Harley-Davidson. He currently works for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, where he runs the revived Alpine sports-car division.He’ll now be leaving Alpine behind to run the JLR division that encompasses its Special Vehicle, Bespoke, and Classic operations. That’ll put him in charge, among other things, of expanding the SVR lineup that has already given us the F-Type SVR and Range Rover Sport SVR.JLR Special Operations also gave birth to the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 and F-Type Project 7, the Range Rover SV Coupe, and the reborn Lightweight E-Type, XKSS, and D-Type. Everything exciting, in short, that the Indian-owned British automaker produces."In just four years Special Operations has established itself as a force in the automotive world with outstanding cars," said van der Sande. "These are exceptional achievements and I relish the opportunity to lead the team behind these achievements to even greater success."No word on where Edwards will be heading next. He’s been with JLR since at least 2007, when he was named managing director for Land Rover’s domestic market."These crucial new appointments put Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations in excellent shape for the future," said Edwards. "Our Special Vehicle Operations, Bespoke and Classic businesses are strategically important for the entire business and I am confident the new recruits will bring fresh thinking and new direction, building on what we have achieved and taking us onwards and upwards." Further appointments to the division are expected to be announced in due course.