DETROIT -- Ed Welburn, General Motors’ head of global design who radically transformed the look of the automaker’s car and truck lineups, is retiring effective July 1.
He will be succeeded by Australian Michael Simcoe, vice president of design at GM’s International Operations, the company said today. Simcoe, 58, is the first non-American appointed to the top design post at GM. He will begin taking over for Welburn on May 1.
“Given his deep global experience and passion for breakthrough design, Michael is the right person to lead GM Global Design,” Mark Reuss, GM’s global product development chief, said in a statement. “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 began his career as a designer at GM Holden in 1983. More recently, as head of exterior design for GM in North America starting in 2004, he led the design development of many cars and light trucks, including the GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, and the Cadillac CTS sedan, wagon and coupe.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who formerly headed the automaker’s product development efforts, praised Welburn’s work and career. “He nurtured a creative, inclusive and customer-focused culture among our designers that has strengthened our global brands,” Barra said in a statement.