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GM reshuffles top design deck

Top shelf: After four years in Shanghai, Bryan Nesbitt is now focusing solely on transforming Buick, which is a key global brand for GM – particularly in North America and China.

Australian Smith hands over global Buick design to Nesbitt but keeps Cadillac reins

General Motors logo5 Jun 2015

By TERRY MARTIN

GENERAL Motors has reassigned its chief designer for the all-important Chinese market, Bryan Nesbitt, to executive director of global Buick and global architectures, relinquishing responsibility for Buick from Australian Andrew Smith.

Mr Smith (pictured below) was juggling the top design job for both Buick and Cadillac and will now focus solely on Caddy, which is undergoing a major new-model program with around eight new vehicles – including the all-new CT6 unveiled at the New York motor show in April – due by the end of the decade.

As executive director of global Cadillac, he continues to lead the premium brand as well as GM’s global colour and trim team.

Mr Nesbitt has returned to GM’s design headquarters in Warren, Michigan, relocating from Shanghai where most recently he served as vice-president of design for GM China.

This is part of the GM International Operations division for whom Mr Nesbitt has undertaken key roles over the past four years in a team including GMIO design vice-president, Australian Mike Simcoe.

Mr Simcoe’s role remains unchanged, however it is unclear what, if any, impact Mr Nesbitt’s move back to the US has on the Australian-based design team, which has played a key role in Buick projects such as taking full responsibility for the exterior design of the stunning Avenir luxury sedan concept unveiled at the Detroit auto show earlier this year.

Among Mr Nesbitt’s first major programs is understood to be the production version of the Avenir, which will be a flagship for the Buick range and could be sold in Australia as a Holden.

The new GM China design chief is Ken Parkinson, who was previously executive director of global Chevrolet trucks.

The lead Chevrolet trucks design role is now part of John Cafaro’s portfolio, adding to his responsibility for Chevy cars worldwide. Mr Cafaro also now leads the exterior components and accessories team.

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