TURIN – David Wilkie progressively is leaving coachbuilder Stile Bertone SpA to join former schoolmate and well-known designer Murat Gunak at the Switzerland-based Mindset AG, a start-up niche auto maker.

Wilkie already is active at Mindset, where a stylish and innovative electric sports car is under development.

In a telephone interview, Wilkie says he was attracted to the electric-vehicle project and the people at Mindset and decided to challenge himself. “I wanted to be more of a hands-on designer than a design manager,” he says.

However, Wilkie has not left Bertone entirely. Both Mindset and Bertone have agreed to allow him to follow up on projects started at the Italian design house, including helping recruit stylists to reinforce the design team.

Wilkie, 50, is a native of Glasgow, Scotland. Along with Gunak, he earned a masters degree in design at the Royal College of Art in London and started his career with PSA Peugeot Citroen.

He later joined Carrozzeria Ghia SpA, where he was best-known for his design of the Streetka, a sports-convertible version of Ford of Europe’s Ka minicar.

In 2003, Wilkie joined Bertone as interior design director and was appointed design director in early 2006. The Bertone Barchetta and BAT 11 concept cars were designed under his leadership.