Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Infiniti exec de Nysschen to head GM’s Cadillac
Auto industry » Appointee praised for his knowledge of luxury automotive brands.
First Published Jul 11 2014 10:16 am • Last Updated Jul 11 2014 06:16 pm

General Motors Friday named Johan de Nysschen, head of Nissan’s Infiniti, as president of Cadillac as the luxury brand tries to build on new products, boost its global image and recapture last year’s growth.

De Nysschen, 54, also a former executive with Volkswagen’s Audi, resigned earlier Friday as Infiniti chief executive officer after two years in the job. His Cadillac appointment, effective Aug. 1, follows Thursday’s announcement that Bob Ferguson, who had led the brand since 2012, would return to a public-policy role for GM.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Johan brings to our company vast experience in the development and proper execution of luxury automotive brands," GM President Dan Ammann said Friday. "With over 20 years in this exact space, especially in the development of the Audi brand, his track record proves he is the perfect executive to lead Cadillac for the long term."

De Nysschen, who helped boost Audi sales in the U.S. 42 percent during his tenure, arrives at Cadillac as Detroit-based GM tries to elevate the brand in the U.S. and China to compete with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Cadillac, armed with some of its best products in a generation, increased U.S. sales 22 percent last year from 2012. The redesigned CTS sedan, named in 2013 as Motor Trend’s car of the year, is one of 10 new or redesigned Cadillac vehicles GM is bringing out in the U.S. by the end of 2015. The new ATS compact car won North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show in January 2013.

Even with the new products, Cadillac’s U.S. sales fell 1.9 percent this year through June. The GM brand’s sales ranked fifth in the market.

"Sales have been soft at a time when the overall market and the luxury market is up and they have new product," Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at AutoTrader.com, said Friday in a telephone interview. "Cadillac’s problem, against at least the big three German makers, is it hasn’t gotten the strength of the brand and image as those do and that’s going to take continued work and product."

De Nysschen joins Uwe Ellinghaus, a former BMW marketing executive, who was named in November to a newly created position of Cadillac chief marketing officer. He began Jan. 1. Other changes made under Ferguson, who had been GM’s top lobbyist before taking over Cadillac, included naming Interpublic Group of Cos.’s Rogue as the brand’s ad agency; hiring Steve Majoros from Campbell Ewald, where he was a managing director, as global marketing team director; and moving marketing executive Don Butler to vice president of global Cadillac strategic development in April 2013. Butler left GM in August.

While running Cadillac in recent months, Ferguson also has been busy in Washington. He was a presence at the Capitol as CEO Mary Barra testified multiple times before congressional panels about why GM took more than a decade to recall 2.59 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars with potentially faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths.

Ferguson’s new role as senior vice president of global public policy makes him responsible for GM’s federal, state and international government relations and public policy. Ferguson replaces Selim Bingol, who had led both public relations and public policy for GM and departed earlier this year as Barra made changes to her senior executive team. She became CEO in January.


story continues below
story continues below

GM, which exited bankruptcy in 2009, has gone to Volkswagen for several hires in recent years. For example, Tim Mahoney, head of Chevrolet marketing, ran VW’s U.S. marketing operations. Karl-Thomas Neumann, former head of VW’s China business, runs GM’s European operations. Tony Cervone, a former GM executive, returned to the automaker to replace Bingol as head of public relations. Cervone ran VW public relations in the U.S.

At Cadillac, de Nysschen will be responsible for all aspects of the brand, including marketing, sales, product planning, pricing, network development and strategic development, GM said in the statement.

"I have for some time now been impressed by how the new General Motors has been transformed into a formidable force in the industry," de Nysschen said in the statement. "The combination of strong corporate leadership and exceptional engineering resources presents the perfect combination to restore Cadillac to its place among global premium brands."

De Nysschen’s Infiniti resignation was announced internally Friday, said Stefan Weinmann, a spokesman for the Nissan brand. Andy Palmer, Nissan’s chief planning officer overseeing the Infiniti business, will head the luxury unit in the interim as the company searches for a successor, Weinmann said.

The departure comes as Infiniti, which moved its headquarters to Hong Kong to focus on the Chinese market, prepares to begin production in the world’s biggest auto market. Nissan, based in Yokohama, Japan, has an Infiniti target of 10 percent of the global premium market by 2020.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.