In a bid to unify General Motors’ car styling language across continents, GM Design has announced a major shuffling of executives around the world. The goals of the move include strengthening executives’ connections with foreign brands, improving the similarity of GM car design in different markets, and sharing new ideas among designers.
One of the most prominent changes involves David Lyon, who is currently executive director of North American interiors. Lyon also is responsible for global cross-brand design, and is GM’s “Brand Champion” for Buick and GMC. He is relocating to Russelsheim, Germany, to become vice president of GM Europe Design and help grow the Opel/Vauxhall division.
Meanwhile, Mark Adams will leave his position as vice president of GM Europe Design and Opel/Vauxhall brand champion. He is moving to Warren, Michigan, and becomes executive director of global Cadillac and Buick design.
“This new structure provides a foundation to build and grow the design language for each of our brands moving forward,” GM vice president for Global Design Ed Welburn said in a statement. “It gives our design teams a greater opportunity to create products and brands that have an emotional connection with our customers.”
Shuffling executives between brands and countries is supposed to foster more creativity, better sharing of ideas between brands, and a unified design team. GM Design currently has ten design centers divided between the U.S., Germany, South Korea, China, Australia, Brazil, and India.
Ken Parkinson leaves his role as executive director of North American exterior design and Chevrolet brand champion to become executive director of global Chevrolet and GMC design. Clay Dean will become the director of global advanced design, leaving his current post as director of North American advanced design and Cadillac brand champion.
Several other members of the GM Design team will keep their current positions. Bryan Nesbitt will continue to serve as vice president of GM International Operations and brand champion of the Chinese Wuling and Baojun brands. Mike Simcoe, executive director of GMIO, is to continue as brand champion of Australian brand Holden. Carlos Barba will continue to lead GM Design in Brazil, as executive director of GM South America Design. Teckla Rhoads remains director of global industrial design. And Mark Leavy continues as GM’s executive director of global design operations.
The new roles take effect August 1. All of the aforementioned positions report to Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of global design.