General Motors has given its global design team a good shake in an attempt to create "a more brand-focused design organization." Effective August 1, Ken Parkinson, who currently serves as executive director of North American exterior design, will become the executive director of global Chevrolet and GMC design. Current vice president of GM Europe design, Mark Adams, will move to Warren, Michigan to take over duties as the executive director of Global Cadillac and Buick design.
Meanwhile, David Lyon will move to Rüsselsheim, Germany to serve as the vice president of GM Europe Design. Lyon currently works as the executive director of North American interiors and global cross-brand design. Clay Dean is set to become the director of Global Advanced Design.

GM says the changes should allow the company to push more common design language over each brand's lineup while also increasing parts sharing where possible. Check out the full press release below for more information.
Show full PR text
GM Design Announces Changes to its Global Organization and Leadership Team
Moves strengthen brand focus and Advanced Design capabilities


WARREN, Mich. – GM Global Design today announced a revised organizational structure and executive appointments that align it more closely with the company's brands across its network of 10 Design Centers around the world.

"This new structure provides a foundation to build and grow the design language for each of our brands moving forward," said Ed Welburn, GM vice president for Global Design. "It gives our design teams a greater opportunity to create products and brands that have an emotional connection with our customers and that continue to move our company forward."

The benefits of a more brand-focused design organization include:

Drive stronger – and common – messaging across a brand's portfolio
Allow designers to better understand – and design for – customers when they live the brand on a day-to-day basis
Provide for greater parts sharing across brands
Foster more creativity and provide a clear, single purpose for each design team member.

The revised structure also increases the role of GM's Advanced Design Centers, which are strategically located in the United States, Germany, Korea, China and Australia.

"Strengthening our Advanced Design organization will allow us to help the company develop innovative new technologies and strategies to meet the future transportation needs of the global marketplace," Welburn said. "One thing is clear: Success will require a variety of mobility solutions that are striking both in their execution and their efficiency."

The new structure and executive appointments are effective Aug. 1. The following executives will report to Welburn:

Ken Parkinson, currently executive director, North American Exterior Design/Global Architecture Strategy and Chevrolet "Brand Champion," is appointed executive director, Global Chevrolet and GMC Design.

Mark Adams, currently vice president – GM Europe Design and "Brand Champion" for Opel/Vauxhall, will relocate to Warren and is appointed executive director, Global Cadillac and Buick Design.

David Lyon, currently executive director – North American Interiors/Global Cross-Brand Design and Buick/GMC "Brand Champion," will relocate to Russelsheim, Germany and is appointed vice president – GME Design, with an emphasis on growing the Opel/Vauxhall brand. Lyon will sit on the leadership team of Karl-Friedrich Stracke, president, GM Europe and CEO of Opel/Vauxhall.

Clay Dean, currently director – North American Advanced Design and Cadillac "Brand Champion," is appointed to the new position of director – Global Advanced Design. Dean will serve as the lead integrator and coordinator of all Advanced Design activity around the world.

Bryan Nesbitt, vice president – GMIO Design and "Brand Champion" for Wuling and Baojun, will continue to serve as the lead voice for Design in the GMIO region and focus on developing and growing the company's operations in China and India. Nesbitt will continue to sit on GMIO President Tim Lee's leadership team.

Mike Simcoe, executive director – GMIO Design and "Brand Champion" for Holden, will continue to focus on developing and growing the company's operations in Korea and Australia.

Carlos Barba, executive director – GM South America Design, will continue in his leadership role of GM Design in Brazil.

Teckla Rhoads, director – Global Industrial Design, will continue to lead the global responsibility of Industrial Design.

Mark Leavy, executive director – Global Design Operations, will continue in his current leadership role.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      Toneron
      • 2 Years Ago
      As if middle managers changing offices will affect anything.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why doesn't each brand have a head of design? Someone charged with crafting/nurturing that brands design language? Having the same guy in charge of both Cadillac and Buick seems silly to me.
        Toneron
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        They do - several layers of management down.
        FoxJ30
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        If anything, GM Europe and Buick should be sharing a design head who splits his time between Germany and Shanghai. Let's just hope we don't end up seeing Buicks wearing Cadillac's eggcrate grilles (or Cadillacs with waterfalls).
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        They used to. And not just design either. I believe they used to have engineers that were Chevy-only, or Buick-only, etc. Each division would act rather autonomously and they would compete with each other to make the hottest, baddest, fastest cars around. Of course that was when GM alone owned some 50% of the USDM and the USDM was the only market that really mattered. But it hasn't been like that for some 3 decades. Now a days, it cheaper to pool resources together since pretty much every car that GM makes has at least one corporate cousin that shares its platform as well as powertrain options. Its for cost-cutting purposes but in some ways its better because more resources can be allocated to a project, even if its for a smaller division or a lower-volume car. The problem exists when there is no focus on giving each brand a distinct look and feel. In that respect, I think GM has done a surprisingly good job over the last couple of years to separate its brands, but its still straddled with its legacy hardware from before the reorganization.
          throwback
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          I remember those days when the Division General manager basically ran his divison as his own fifedom. I don't think they need to go that far but design is a key (in some cases only) differentiator. There should be one senior designer in charge of each brand reporting directly to Ed Welburn. Ford has finally done this with Lincoln.
          Hazdaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          @ throwback I think there are no clear-cut ways of doing this. Yeah, on the one hand, maybe a Chevy designer shouldn't be intermingling with a Cadillac designer so each division can stay as distinct as possible. But on the other hand, designers tend to like to stretch their creative muscles, so working on one and only one division's cars for long could easily burn someone out. And also while designing a mid-size Chevy, I don't think it is very hard to imagine that same person comes up with a bunch of other designs that would be more suited to a higher-level brand like Buick. If he was a Chevy-only guy, those ideas would be wasted. Simply put, I have worked in design, and its just not a black-and-white process, so what might work for one team, might not work for another in terms of splitting up the projects.
      Danrar
      • 2 Years Ago
      "GM says the changes should allow the company to push more common design language over each brand's lineup while also increasing parts sharing where possible." The first part of that sentence doesn't mesh well with the second. How can the brands have their own language if they expand parts sharing? (which they'd done way too much of in the past, and they still do a fair amount) Also, as already mentioned, they have 2 design heads for 4 brands. Not 4.
      design eye
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't see this as better, it's just different for different's sake. 3 questions: 1. Will it make them go faster? 2. Will it make them cost less? 3. Will it make the product better?
        sebster718
        • 2 Years Ago
        @design eye
        Those are all irrelevant to this topic. Will it look better? Make more sense.
      T.j. Ujazdowski
      • 2 Years Ago
      what happend to Ed Wellburn?
        boardin85
        • 2 Years Ago
        @T.j. Ujazdowski
        I believe he's in charge of global design. the people mentioned in the article likely report to him.
        Synthono
        • 2 Years Ago
        @T.j. Ujazdowski
        Nothing. Well, reading the press release, he did the shuffle and provided a couple of quotes.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Dark Gnat
        • 2 Years Ago
        AB sure does have a hard time reading and understanding GM press releases.
      j.blow66
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh, be still my beating heart... ANOTHER resuffling of Gov't Motors suits. Happy, happy joy-joy... groan.
        JPG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @j.blow66
        j.blow 66 can j-blow my d*** if you gotta bring up that gov't motors sh**
        Joseph Davis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @j.blow66
        agree why all the thumbs downs?
      sanmusa
      • 2 Years Ago
      "the changes should allow the company to push more common design language over each brand's lineup while also increasing parts sharing where possible" More brand engineering. Yay. Go away GM.
      Tanooki2003
      • 2 Years Ago
      So in other words this is is GM pretty much saying the same thing since the mid 90's when they redesigned the Lumina and came out with the Cadillac Catera a year later. Personally I'm still waiting since 1995 for GM to design a vehicle that has the "Wow I wish I owned that car" appeal to it. Ford and even Chrysler had managed to make a few really attractive vehicles that turn heads throughout their lineups over the years, why can't GM? Sorry the Corvette, Firebird, and even the current Camaro just aren't enough to justify even a stop-and-explore at a GM dealership. More than likely I will pass that up and stop at the Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai, or Kia dealership across the street or next door from GM. The closest GM came to designing vehicles with some "wow" appeal were the Grand Prix designed from 1988 - 1996. Since then GM has gotten downright boring with their designs throughout all brands. IMO GM designers have always been a few steps behind everybody else. Everytime i see a new GM vehicle I always think "This would have done GM a great deal of good and popular if it was released a decade earlier". Lastly their big problem is in advertising. They always seem to go political with advertising their vehicles, meaning they over exaggerate and hype up their soon to be new released vehicle when in turn it's really not that much better than the competition when stressed and tested with the competitors. Then they have an issue over over-advertising their vehicles every available network, almost to the point of spamming, weather it was facebook, every single tv commercial (5+ times during a 1 hour show), buying out certain networks, like HGTV and PBS, spam ads on most sites that have to do with cars. I understand the need to advertise but geez enough already. If GM's products were so great, fantastic, and you'd be a moron to pass them up then maybe they should try showing that more in their products they sell. After all as a popular Kia dealership owner has stated to me, "The products are good enough to sell themselves". Hearing GM getting a big overhaul sounds about as interesting as my neighbor painting his house from a wood brown to sandy oak. Just being honest and as non biased as possible.
      jinushaun
      • 2 Years Ago
      So... GM is returning to badge engineering?
      Z. Kesh
      • 2 Years Ago
      Buick= Opel= Vauxhall= Holden= (Daewoo) Time to make a difference. Really time. Where is the new Harley Earl?
      protovici
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lets start with the Camaro interior. Please tell me that person no longer gets paid via big government funds!
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