An Australian is now General Motors’ global design chief

The billion dollar baby, Holden’s VE commodore which Simcoe oversaw.

Australian designer Michael Simcoe has become the first non-American to be appointed as the vice president of General Motors Global Design.

Simcoe will take over from Ed Welburn and become just the seventh design chief in GM history.

In Australia, Simcoe was responsible for overseeing the development of the most recent Holden Monaro, the VT Commodore, WH Holden Statesman and Holden’s billion dollar baby, the VE Commodore.

Outside of Australia, Simcoe has overseen the design of the 2010 Chevrolet Comaro, the Buick Avenir concept and most recently, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which will take on Tesla’s Model 3.

GM’s new global design chief, Michael Simcoe.

As part of his role with General Motors, Simcoe was instrumental in reforming the company’s South Korean design studio after GM purchased what was left of the Daewoo group. He has also been one of the strongest advocates for Port Melbourne’s design studio.

Simcoe originally joined Holden as a designed in 1983, moving up the ranks to senior designer in 1985 and then Holden’s chief designer in 1987. He stayed in that role for 8 years before he was promoted to the design director for General Motors Asia Pacific in 1995.

In 2004, he move to the US where he was appointed as the executive director North American Exterior Design, and then executive director for General Motors International Design.

He will assume the role on 1 May when the handover begins with Welburn, who’s set to retire on 1 July.