Big news from General Motors. Top design chief Ed Welburn, who recently unveiled the stunning Buick Avista concept in Detroit, is turning in the keys to his post. He’s announced he is retiring effective July 1.
Welburn has without a doubt played a huge role in helping shape the automaker’s vision during his 44 years with GM. He radically changed the look of the automaker’s entire lineup and built a network of 10 GM design centers around the world.
“GM Design is among the most respected and sought-after organizations in the industry because of Ed’s leadership. He nurtured a creative, inclusive and customer-focused culture among our designers that has strengthened our global brands,” says Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO.
Australian Michael Simcoe, vice president of design at GM’s International Operations, will take Welburn’s place. He’s been with GM design for 33 years.
“Given his deep global experience and passion for breakthrough design, Michael is the right person to lead GM Global Design,” says Mark Reuss, GM’s global product development chief. “He is known for his ability to take diverse ideas from around the world and mold then into great products that surprise and delight our customers.”
Simcoe joined GM in 1983 as a designer at Holden in Australia. In 1995, he became director of Design for GM Asia Pacific and in 2003, was named executive director of Asia Pacific Design and led the development of the new GM Korea design operations under Welburn’s leadership.
The following year, he became executive director of North American Exterior Design, responsible for critical and commercial successes like the GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox and Cadillac CTS.
Simcoe will take over the post May 1.