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Ed Welburn Announces Retirement After 44 Years with GM

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Ed Welburn

Ed Welburn

Today, General Motors announced that Ed Welburn, current vice president of General Motors Global Design, will end his 44-year career with the company on July 1st and enter into retirement.

GM named Welburn’s successor as Michael Simcoe, the current vice president of GM International Design. Simcoe is a 33-year veteran of GM Design, making him an ideal choice to fill the considerable void left by Welburn’s departure.

“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,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO.

Welburn has been the head of General Motors Design since 2003 and of global design since 2005, and he is the first African American in the automotive industry to lead a company in that regard. This past January, Welburn was honored at the dedication of the GM Center for African American Arts at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 2015, he was named the Black Engineer of the Year at the Becoming Everything You Are STEM Conference Black Engineer of the Year Gala.

Michael Simcoe

Michael Simcoe

Over the course of more than a decade, GM design centers have sprouted up in seven different countries—Germany, South Korea, China, Australia, Brazil, India, and the United States. More than 2,500 individuals are employed across 10 locations, all of whom work under Welburn’s watchful eye.

“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,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development and Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.

Simcoe will begin transitioning into his role on May 1st; a successor for Simcoe in the role of VP of GM International Design has not yet been named.

Simcoe originally joined General Motors through Holden in Australia in 1983, and in the three decades since, he has held positions including director of Design for GM Asia Pacific, executive director of Asia Pacific Design, and executive director of North American Exterior Design.

More recently, one of Simcoe’s teams helped produce the Buick Avenir Concept that debuted at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, and he helped unveil the Chevrolet Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show cars at the Bangkok International Motor Show.