TOKYO -- Johan de Nysschen, president of the Infiniti luxury brand, has overhauled his top management with hand-picked executives tasked with taking the brand global.
The sweeping changes inject the top ranks with non-Japanese executives, many poached from rivals, for international flair. The shake-up also creates several positions, including a chief transformation officer to lead the revamp.
Filling that role will be Ian Bolin, an American whom Infiniti hired from Audi AG where he was country manager for South Africa.
During his 13 years at the Volkswagen Group, Bolin, 36, also worked as strategy head for Audi of America. He began his career at Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars.
Bolin started at Infiniti on March 14 at its global headquarters in Hong Kong. He reports to de Nysschen.
New VP for global operations
De Nysschen, who left Audi to join Infiniti in July, also named Francois Goupil de Bouille as the brand’s vice president for global operations, also a newly created post.
Goupil de Bouille, 55, is responsible for global sales, aftermarket, retail network development and customer care. He also has regional oversight of Infiniti’s Asia-Oceania operations.
That appointment was effective March 1.
The French national had been vice president for Nissan’s business in Russia and the Ukraine.
Other appointments included:
- Fintan Knight was named vice president for Infiniti operations in Europe, Africa, Middle East and India. The job takes effect May 1 with Knight reporting to de Nysschen. Knight, 41, joins Infiniti from Automobil Lamborghini S.p.A., where he was a board member in charge of marketing, sales and aftersales. Before that, he spent 13 years at Audi, with assignments as managing director of Audi Ireland and as general manager at Audi Asia-Pacific. Knight is Australian.
- Bernard Loire has been named managing director of Nissan’s Italian business. He had held the position that Knight is taking.
- Antonio Lasaga, 39, was promoted to global head of Infiniti human resources. Effective March 1, he has been working as an in-house headhunter diversifying Infiniti’s global talent pool. This is another newly created position. Before Infiniti, Lasaga, a Spanish national, worked as director of human relations and general affairs for Nissan in Spain, where he oversaw 4,700 workers in five factories, an r&d center, a parts and distribution center and sales offices.
- Stefan Weinmann, 47, was named general manager of Infiniti Global Communications, effective April 1. In this newly created position, he will also report to de Nysschen. Weinmann comes to Infiniti from Adam Opel AG, where he was general director for internal and alliance communications. The German national worked for GM and its Opel unit for 22 years.
Joining the club
The management changes, including three more high-level appointments, will “support the long-term strategy of Infiniti to become the fourth member of the premium automotive club,” an Infiniti spokeswoman said.
Infiniti has a way to go before it joins German triumvirate of Mercedes, BMW and Audi at the top of the sector.
Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn brought in de Nysschen last year to lead an overhaul of the Japanese carmaker’s luxury marque. Ghosn wants Infiniti to grab a 10 percent stake of the global premium market by the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.
The automaker is targeting global Infiniti sales of 500,000 units by then, compared with about 150,000 in 2011, with most of the gains coming in Asia, North America and Europe.
In that time frame, Ghosn also aims to boost the portfolio to include 10 models in 71 markets, compared with just seven models in 36 markets in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2011.