DETROIT -- General Motors is hiring Johan de Nysschen, the former U.S. Audi boss who is leaving Nissan’s Infiniti, to lead global Cadillac sales, GM said today.
De Nysschen, 54, will fill the post vacated Thursday by Bob Ferguson, who’s returning to his previous position as the automaker’s top government lobbyist, effective immediately.
He is joining GM as an executive vice president and president of Cadillac, effective Aug. 1, reporting to GM President Dan Ammann.
“Johan brings to our company vast experience in the development and proper execution of luxury automotive brands,” Ammann said in a statement today. “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.”
Since mid-March, Ferguson has been spending most of his time in Washington, helping steer GM’s response to its ignition switch recall.
The appointment of De Nysschen fills a leadership void at GM’s luxury brand. While Ferguson has been focused on the recall crisis, U.S. Cadillac boss Bill Peffer departed abruptly last month after less than 10 months in the job. He was the third head of Cadillac sales to leave in two years.
U.S. Cadillac sales have dropped 2 percent this year in a market that has gained 4 percent. Last year, Cadillac recorded a 22 percent increase.
Said de Nysschen in the GM 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. The combination of strong corporate leadership and exceptional engineering resources presents the perfect combination to restore Cadillac to its place among global premium brands."
Departure from Infiniti
De Nysschen is leaving Infiniti two years after joining the brand’s new global headquarters in Hong Kong. He submitted his resignation earlier this week, Nissan Motor Corp. Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said in an interview earlier Friday from Japan.
In deciding to leave Infiniti, Nissan’s Palmer said de Nysschen "cited ... a strong desire to go back to the United States for personal reasons,” and noted that his home and family are still in the United States.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn recruited de Nysschen for his record as president of Audi of America.
Over his tenure there, Audi’s share of the U.S. luxury market climbed to 9.5 percent in 2011 from 5.3 percent in 2004.
Nissan is considering internal and external candidates to replace de Nysschen, Palmer said. In the interim, Palmer will assume de Nysschen’s duties as president of Infiniti.
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