General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] today announced that design chief Ed Welburn will retire effective July 1.
Welburn, 65, spent 44 years at General Motors. He took over as head of GM design in 2003, then assumed global responsibilities in 2005. Under his leadership, GM built a network of 10 design centers in seven countries: the United States, Germany, South Korea, China, Australia, Brazil, and India. GM design employees more than 2,500 men and women.
GM chairman and CEO Marry Barra praised Welburn: “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.”
Mark Ruess, executive vice president, Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, also had praise for the legacy Welburn has established. "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.
Michael Simcoe, vice president of GM International Design, will take over for Welburn as the company's seventh design leader. He starts his new job May 1st, working with Welburn for a couple months during the transition. Simcoe is an Australian and is the first non-American to take the job.
Ed Welburn and Michael Simcoe
Simcoe joined GM in 1983 as a designer at Holden in Australia. He became director of design for GM Asia Pacific in 1995, and in 2003, he was named executive director of Asia Pacific Design, leading GM Korea design operations. He came to the U.S. in 2004 to become executive director of North American exterior design. He took on his current role in 2014, overseeing GM’s production and advanced studios in Australia, India, and Korea.
Simcoe has worked on such production vehicles as the GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, and Cadillac CTS. He also led the team that created the Buick Avenir Concept that was revealed at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.