General Motors has announced several key changes affecting its design operations, most of which are aimed at improving cohesion across the automaker’s global design studios and strengthening the attributes of its individual brand identities. Crucially,  the automaker states that the changes will further enhance the focus on joint strategies, theme development and innovation.

Today’s announcement comes just a week after General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] CEO Dan Akerson said he’d like to see greater integration between Buick and Opel and more of the German designed and developed models for sale in the U.S. It is believed a lack of integration between the brands is why the U.S. has missed out on stylish Opels such as the latest Adam minicar and Cascada convertible.

In response, Mark Adams, the current design boss for Cadillac and Buick, will now serve as the design boss for Buick and Opel. Adams, who previously led Opel design, was asked to head Cadillac and Buick in the U.S. only a year ago. However, the sudden resignation of David Lyon, the man who was meant to replace Adams at Opel, meant Adams was still overseeing Opel design even while managing Cadillac and Buick design.   

To lead Cadillac, meanwhile, will be Andrew Smith, the current head of design at Holden in Australia. Smith will be the champion for the Cadillac brand but will work together with Adams on Buick designs as well.

Chevrolet will keep its head designer  Ken Parkinson, while Helen Emsley, the interior design head for trucks and performance cars, will be promoted to head of design for GMC.

Another top designer at GM, Clay Dean, who heads the Global Advanced Design concept studio, sees no change to his role.

Finally, GM design boss Ed Welburn maintains his position at the top of the chain, overseeing around 2,000 designers in 10 studios located all around the world. Though it’s yet to be confirmed, there’s talk Mark Adams will eventually lead GM design once Welburn resigns.

The latest changes take effect September 1, 2013.

GM design chief Ed Welburn presents the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept

GM design chief Ed Welburn presents the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept


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