Ed Wel­burn Re­tires, Wel­comes New GM VP of De­sign Michael Sim­coe

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Ed Wel­burn, Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. de­sign chief, and eas­ily one of the most prom­i­nent car de­sign­ers of our era, is re­tir­ing af­ter 44 years with the com­pany. He re­cently an­nounced that he will re­tire July 1st, with Michael Sim­coe, a 33-year old vet­eran who cur­rently leads GM’S In­ter­na­tional De­sign Cen­ter, will take over and be­gin the tran­si­tion soon.

A GM lifer, Wel­burn started at the com­pany in 1972 af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Howard Univer­sity; and el­e­vated through the ranks to head up GM De­sign glob­ally in 2005. His de­par­ture is a sig­nif­i­cant one be­cause he was solely re­spon­si­ble for the over­haul of brands like Buick and Cadil­lac, and bring­ing back sporty cars like the Ca­maro, lead­ing a styling Re­nais­sance as the com­pany emerged from its 2009 bank­ruptcy.

In his early days, he de­signed some of the most iconic per­for­mance cars such as the Ca­maro, Cadil­lac Ciel, Corvette, the Buick Avista and many oth­ers. He also stream­lined the 1987 Oldsmo­bile Aerotech con­cept with the world-speed record.

Although Ed Wel­burn of­fi­cially re­tires on July 1st, GM says that he will be work­ing with the ar­chi­tect of its new De­sign Cen­ter fa­cil­ity on the cam­pus of the GM Tech­ni­cal Cen­ter in War­ren, Michi­gan. He will also be work­ing with the Smith­so­nian on an Ed­ward T. Well­burn Col­lec­tion of pieces doc­u­ment­ing his ca­reer that will de­but at the open­ing of the Na­tional Mu­seum of African Amer­i­can His­tory and Cul­ture build­ing at the end of this year.

Ed Wel­burn’s suc­ces­sor, Sim­coe, started in GM’S Aus­tralian Holden Unit and has worked on the Ca­maro, CTS, and more re­cently, the Buick Avenir con­cept that won the best con­cept car at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

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