2020 ALL STAR | OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE
JOHAN DE NYSSCHEN
COO, Volkswagen Group of America
Johan de Nysschen has stood under the hot glare of the auto industry’s brightest spotlights for more than a decade, most recently as head of Cadillac, and earlier at Infiniti and Audi. Like some of this industry’s biggest characters, the quick-witted and erudite South African never failed to both entertain and express his opinion.
So when Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh asked his former boss at Audi, de Nysschen, to essentially serve as Keogh’s wingman and mostly silent partner running Volkswagen, many in the industry wondered how it might go.
As it turns out, the answer is: pretty well.
As COO, de Nysschen’s areas of responsibility include most everything up to a vehicle arriving at a dealership’s driveway. During the past year, Volkswagen has significantly improved the quality of its vehicles coming out of its North American production plants. It also has implemented allocation changes to make sure dealers get the vehicles that best fit their markets, and it opened an internal auction system to allow VW dealers first access to vehicles coming off lease.
All of these improvements have been part of Keogh’s long-term plan to make VW a successful brand in the U.S., but de Nysschen, 60, has been there, working largely behind the scenes, driving on the team and making sure Keogh’s plan goes exactly as anticipated.
Though he’s in a largely supporting role, de Nysschen’s work in this cast in among the best of his long career.