DETROIT -- Cadillac is trying to fill holes in its executive ranks as it pursues 35 percent U.S. sales growth this year and major expansion overseas.
Don Butler, who resigned from General Motors last week as vice president of global strategic development, had been in charge of the overseas expansion. Butler, 49, wrote in an e-mail to Automotive News that it was "purely a personal decision" to leave GM after 25 years in marketing and product planning roles.
"The company encouraged me to stay, but I need to take a step back and focus on the right priorities in my life," he wrote. "It's just time for a change in my path."
His departure follows the July 19 ouster of Chase Hawkins, Cadillac's top U.S. sales executive. GM has said Hawkins was dismissed for violating company policy.
GM spokesman David Caldwell said that Hawkins' replacement likely will be named soon. He gave no time frame for filling Butler's role. Both men reported to Bob Ferguson, president of global Cadillac since October.
Through July, Cadillac's U.S. sales were up 30 percent this year, a growth rate among brands second only to Porsche's (up 31 percent). Cadillac plans to introduce 10 new or redesigned vehicles by mid-2015 and wants to more than triple its sales in China by that year, to 100,000 units. GM also wants to jump-start Cadillac in Europe, where sales have long sputtered.
Butler, who joined GM as a co-op student in 1981, had been one of Cadillac's highest-profile executives during the brand's comeback in the wake of GM's 2009 bankruptcy. He was Cadillac's top marketing executive from March 2010 to April 2013. He also held marketing jobs at Pontiac, Chevrolet and OnStar, and he ran GM Egypt from 2005 to 2007.
Butler had left GM in 2009 to take a job at a telematics startup in Seattle. A chance encounter with Mark Reuss, now president of GM North America, at the Detroit airport led to an offer for Butler to return to the company as Cadillac's marketing chief.