Clay Dean, stylist behind Cadillac's resurgence, gets broader role in GM design makeover
Clay Dean, who helped revamp Cadillac, will become GM's director of global advanced design -- a new and key role as the automaker continues to expand outside North America.
DETROIT -- Clay Dean, the General Motors designer who oversaw the reboot of the Cadillac brand in recent years, is taking on a more expansive role as GM restructures global design to strengthen its global brands.
As part of a series of organizational changes, GM said today, Dean will become the automaker's director of global advanced design. In the newly created position, he will oversee all of GM's advanced design efforts.
GM has advanced design facilities in the United States, Germany, South Korea, China and Australia.
Dean's new position will allow the automaker to develop new vehicle technologies for foreign markets at a faster clip while enhancing competitiveness, Ed Welburn, GM's vice president for global design, said in a statement.
The creation of Dean's global post spotlights GM's effort to maintain its strong position in China and make inroads in developing markets such as India, where there is growing demand for vehicles that can be used in congested megacities. The Chevrolet EN-V, for example, is a pod-like, two-seat electric vehicle that GM views as a long-range solution for those markets.
'Striking' execution, efficiency
"One thing is clear," Welburn said. "Success will require a variety of mobility solutions that are striking both in their execution and their efficiency."
Dean is currently the head of GM's North American advanced design and Cadillac's so-called brand champion.
He supervised the release of two well-received Chevrolet concept cars -- the Code 130R and the Tru 140S -- at the Detroit auto show in January. Both performance-oriented vehicles would be aimed at younger buyers and priced in the low $20,000s.
"We don't want to just put together a really cool-looking car, throw it out there as a concept and say, 'See ya,' and go and do the next concept," Dean said at the Detroit show. "This is about changing the portfolio."
Focus on each brand
Other executives will take on new roles as GM revamps its design team to focus more on each brand and its needs and customers rather than on, say, exteriors, interiors or other portions of a vehicle's architecture. GM said the moves will streamline design efforts by building stronger brand identities and allow designers to focus on a brand's particular message.
It also will make it easier for GM to share parts across all of its brands, the automaker said.
The changes also reaffirm the importance of design at GM's International Operations, particularly in China, which have been growing far faster than GM's established businesses in North America and Europe in recent years. GM's International Operations encompass all regions outside North and South America and Europe.
GM has designated Cadillac and Chevrolet as its global brands. Designing for Chevrolet used to mean meeting North American tastes, but increasingly it will mean creating designs that appeal to consumers worldwide.
All appointments are effective Aug. 1. These executives will report directly to Welburn:
Ken Parkinson will become the executive director of global Chevrolet and GMC design. He now serves as GM's executive director of North American exterior design and global strategy. Parkinson also is the Chevrolet brand champion.
Mark Adams has been named executive director for global Cadillac and Buick design. He'll relocate to GM's Warren Tech Center in suburban Detroit from his current post in Germany as vice president of GM Europe Design and the brand champion for Opel and Vauxhall.
David Lyon will move to Germany to serve as vice president of GM Europe Design. His focus will be on the Opel and Vauxhall brands. He also will join GM Europe President Karl-Friedrich Stracke's leadership team. Lyon is currently the executive director of North American interiors and global cross-brand design. He's also the Buick-GMC brand champion.
Several of GM's international design executives will maintain their current responsibilities and focus on developing GM's overseas brands:
Bryan Nesbitt, the vice president of GM International Operations Design, will remain responsible for GM's Indian and Chinese operations. He also is the brand champion for the Wuling and Baojun brands. Wuling is a maker of minivehicles partially owned by GM; Wuling and Baojun vehicles are sold only in China.
Mike Simcoe, the executive director of GM International Operations Design, will work on the automaker's business in South Korea and Australia. He also is the brand champion for the Holden brand built in Australia.
Carlos Barba will continue as the head of GM Design in Brazil
Teckla Rhoads will remain director of GM's Global Industrial Design.
Mark Leavy will continue to serve as executive director of GM's global design operations.
Mike Colias contributed to this report