Australian to lead GM design

Australian to lead GM design

Michael SimcoeGeneral Motors chief global vehicle designer, Ed Welburn, will be replaced by 33-year company veteran Michael Simcoe who was chief designer at Holden and led the design of the Monaro and many other key Holden models since the early eighties.

Welburn, 65, has led GM’s design team since 2003 and is credited with expanding the automaker’s network to 10 design centers in seven countries.

Simcoe, 58, has been vice president of GM International Design and based in Australia and South Korea since 2014. He will become GM’s seventh design chief, a position that dates back roughly 90 years.

In the new job Simcoe will be responsible for more than 100 car models across all of GM’s seven brands, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and Holden.

Simcoe will be in charge of 2500 designers working at 10 styling studios in seven countries, including 140 designers at Holden in Port Melbourne who will continue to work on global vehicles after the car assembly line in Adelaide closes in late 2017.

Simcoe is also the first Non-American to be named to such a highly regarded job in the automotive industry.

Simcoe, who joined GM in 1983 as a designer for Holden in Australia, was named executive director of GM design for the Asia-Pacific region in 2003. He had subsequent appointments as a senior designer (1985) and chief designer (1987), becoming involved in every major vehicle design
program that GM Holden had undertaken.

In 1995, Simcoe became director of Design for GM Asia Pacific and was responsible for the
management of collaborative projects with GM alliance partners such as Daewoo, Suzuki, Fuji Heavy
Industries and Isuzu.

Following that, he was appointed director of design at GM Holden in 2001 where he oversaw the genesis of the highly successful Holden VT Commodore and WH Statesman/Caprice model ranges, creating the “flexible architecture” concept that delivered nine variants and subsequently the VE Commodore.

He began to serve as GM’s executive director of Asia Pacific Design in 2003. Simcoe led the design
strategy and oversaw day-to-day design operations in the region. He also set up the new GM Korea
design operations.

After seven years abroad Simcoe returned to Australia in 2011, after he was appointed the head of GM’s design for all international markets outside North America, operating out of Holden’s Port Melbourne head quarters.

In his most recent job, Simcoe led the design of the Buick Avenir concept.

Simcoe will move to Detroit to start his tenure on May 1, 2016.

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