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GM Names Welburn as Design Chief

September 27, 2003|From Associated Press

DETROIT — Ed Welburn, a 30-year design veteran at General Motors Corp. whose work has included the Hummer H2 and Cadillac Escalade, will succeed retiring Wayne Cherry as design chief at the world's biggest automaker.

Welburn becomes only the sixth design chief in the company's 95-year history and is the first African American to head a design house at a Big Three automaker, GM said Friday.

GM said in January that Cherry's retirement would take place in the next year after 42 years with the company. His retirement is effective Jan. 1.

Cherry, 66, had considered an earlier retirement but decided to stay on a while longer in part because of the company's hiring of Vice Chairman Bob Lutz in September 2001.

Lutz, a former Chrysler Corp. president and the driving force behind some of that automaker's most exciting vehicles, was hired to reinvigorate GM's product line.

Welburn, 52, executive director in charge of body-on-frame architectures for GM Design, will become vice president of design for North America on Wednesday.

In addition to daily management of GM Design, his responsibilities will include membership on the GM North America Strategy Board and oversight of GM's Global Design Council.

Welburn began his GM career in 1972 as an associate designer in the advanced design studios and has held various positions at Oldsmobile, Saturn and Opel.

In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of General Motors fell 35 cents to $40.44.

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