GM Design Chief Retires After 44-Year Career

GM Design Chief Retires After 44-Year Career

General Motors’ global head of design, Ed Welburn, has announced his retirement after spending 44 years with the company. 

Welburn will be succeeded by GM’s current VP of international design, Australian Michael Simcoe, starting on May 1. Simcoe has been with GM for 33 years and started at GM Holden back in 1983 before moving on to become the head of exterior design for GM North America in 2004. He is credited with leading the charge on the design of the GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Camaro, Chevy Equinox and the Cadillac CTS sedan, wagon and coupe.

Welburn started as GM’s first African-American designer and went on to become the industry’s only African-American head of global design. Welburn began his career working with Buick on cars like the Park Avenue and Riviera. From there, he went on to Oldsmobile and began climbing the ranks.

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By 1989, Welburn was head of Oldsmobile design, where he helped design while the Cutlass Supreme, Bravada SUV and the Toronado. From there, Welburn went on to Saturn and eventually was moved to Europe.

In 1998, Welburn moved to GM’s advanced design team and oversaw the redesign of the brand’s large trucks and SUVs. In 2003, Welburn became head of North American design, while in 2005 he was moved to the top position as the head of global design.

In modern cars, we can see Welburn’s designs in the C7 Corvette and the entire revamped Chevy lineup. He is also responsible for the Buick Avenir and Avista concepts, two cars that received high praise for making Buicks sexy.

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