Australia’s Mike Simcoe has climbed to the top of the tree with his employer, General Motors, having just been named the carmaker’s new chief designer.
Simcoe, a 33-year veteran of GM, will take the reins from another veteran in 65-year-old Ed Welburn - who has served 44 years with GM and will retire on May 1.
GM CEO Mary Barra praised Welburn’s contribution to the company, saying his leadership and creativity nurtured a “customer-focused culture” which strengthened GM’s global brands.
Simcoe becomes the first non-American to serve as GM design chief, and just the seventh person to fill the prestigious role.
“I am incredibly proud and humbled to be offered this dream role,” Mr Simcoe said.
“I want to thank Ed, congratulate him on an amazing career and wish him all the very best in the next chapter of his life. He leaves very big shoes to fill. Not only is he an incredible designer but an outstanding teacher, mentor, leader and friend.”
“The prospect of heading up General Motors Design is humbling and somewhat daunting but I am supported by an extremely talented and passionate global team, the best in the industry.”
Those following Mike’s career will be aware that he was more than partly responsible for the rebirth of the Monaro coupe within Holden’s line-up, following the jaw-dropping Commodore coupe concept, developed as a 'skunk-works' project at Port Melbourne and unveiled at the Sydney Motor Show.
But the “Commo2dore” barely scratches the surface of Simcoe’s portfolio, with the designer having kicked off his career with Holden in 1983.
It hasn’t been a quiet 2016 to date for Simcoe either, with the Buick Avenir, Chevrolet Trailblazer Premier and Chevrolet Colorado Xtreme concepts all bearing his influence and all unveiled since the New Year.
Simcoe will relocate to Detroit. GM plans to announce a replacement to fill Simcoe’s former role soon - overseeing GM’s production and advanced studios in Korea, Australia and India.
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