Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design, has announced he will retire effective July 1, following a 44-year career with the company.
Michael Simcoe (right), a 33-year veteran of GM Design and vice president of GM International Design, based in Australia and Korea, has been selected to succeed Welburn. He will be the company’s seventh design leader and begins transitioning into his new role on May 1. His replacement has not been named.
Welburn has led GM Design since 2003, and globally since 2005, the first African American from any automaker to do so. Under Welburn, GM built a network of 10 GM design centers in seven countries. His team of more than 2,500 creative men and women – based in the U.S., Germany, South Korea, China, Australia, Brazil and India – collaborate on the design development of every GM concept and production car, truck and crossover globally.
Welburn earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Fine Arts at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he studied sculpture and product design.
Simcoe has been in his current role since 2014, overseeing GM’s production and advanced studios in Korea, Australia, and India. He joined GM in 1983 as a designer at Holden in Australia. In 1995, he became director of design for GM Asia Pacific and in 2003, was named executive director of Asia Pacific Design and led the development of the new GM Korea design operations under Welburn’s leadership. The following year, he became executive director of North American Exterior Design.
Simcoe holds an Associate Diploma of Art Industrial Design from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.