Former Holden chief designer, Australian Mike Simcoe, has continued his march into the uppermost levels of management at General Motors (GM).
Starting January 1, Mr Simcoe will move into the role of senior vice-president, Global Design, having previously served as vice-president without the ‘senior’ tag attached.
The new title for GM’s head designer “signifies continued emphasis on design as GM accelerates transformation to an all-electric future”, the company told shareholders.
Mr Simcoe has led GM Global Design since 2016, after his work across Australia and the Asia Pacific drew notice from the very top. Prior to this he was responsible for design in GM’s international markets.
He joined GM in 1983 as a designer at Holden in Australia, became director of GM Asia Pacific Design in 1995 and executive director in 2003, and then moved on to become executive director of GM North American Exterior Design the following year.
Under Simcoe’s leadership, GM’s design studios have created halo products such as the Cadillac Celestiq and Lyriq, GMC Hummer and Sierra EVs, and Chevrolet Equinox, Blazer and Silverado EVs. Other milestones include the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and 2021 Cadillac Escalade.
He’s also “guided the infusion” of the latest virtual and immersive design development technologies into the team’s daily work “and increased collaboration across GM functions globally”, the company said.
Detroit-based Simcoe will continue to report to GM President Mark Reuss – an American who served as Holden managing director during an Australian posting between February 2008 and August 2009.
“Under Michael’s leadership the GM design team has delivered winning design after winning design, demonstrating the ability to connect with customers in all vehicle segments, for both internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles,” said Mr Reuss.
“GM Design has also played a pivotal role in the expansion of our business, developing concepts that highlight our path to an all-electric, autonomous future and solutions for new business models like BrightDrop [electric commercial vehicles] and Cruise [autonomous rideshare vehicles].”
“Elevating design in the organization demonstrates how important the integration of design and technology is as we continue to transform the company,” Mr Reuss added
Mr Simcoe holds an Associate Diploma of Art Industrial Design from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and was inducted into the Design Industry Australia Hall of Fame in 2018. He is a member of the College for Creative Studies (Detroit) Board of Trustees.