A new man will be at the helm of GM Design starting July 1.
Ed Welburn, who has been with General Motors for 44 years, announced today to employees that he will be retiring July 1.
Welburn has been the vice president of GM Design since 2003 (and globally since 2005, the first African-American from any brand to do so), and sports car enthusiasts can thank him for being at the helm through the highly successful C6 and C7 Corvettes as well as two generations of the popular Camaro.
GM officials were quick to praise Welburn, 65, for his talented leadership.
“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,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO.
Mark Reuss, executive vice president who was there with Welburn when the 2014 Corvette was introduced to the public in January 2013, cited Welburn for putting together a deep bench that will enable GM Design to continue its strong work for many years to come.
In fact, Reuss announced that Michael Simcoe, a 33-year veteran of General Motors and currently vice president of GM International Design, will become the company’s seventh design leader, transitioning into his new job beginning May 1.
“Given his deep global experience and passion for breakthrough design, Michael is the right person to lead GM Global Design,” said Reuss. “He is known for his ability to take diverse ideas and mold them into great products that surprise and delight our customers.”
Welburn, meanwhile, helped GM build a network of 10 GM design centers in seven countries, leading a team of more than 2,500 men and women based in the United States, Germany, South Korea, China, Australia, Brazil, and India that collaborate on the design development of every GM concept and production vehicle in the world.
“Ed’s team turns out one award-winning product after another … and his strong bench will keep GM Design on top for years to come,” Reuss said.
That bench includes Simcoe, who has been in charge of GM’s production and advanced studios in Korea, Australia, and India since 2014. His career at GM also includes stints as a designer at Holden in Australia in 1983, director of Design for GM Asia Pacific in 1995, and executive director of Asia Pacific Design in 2003. A year later, Simcoe was named executive director of North American Exterior Design, leading the way for popular vehicles like the GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox and Cadillac CTS.
His most recent accomplishments include leading the team that designed the award-winning Buick Avenir Concept. Last month, he introduced the Chevrolet Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show cars at the Bangkok International Motor Show.
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