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Infiniti Boss de Nysschen Resigns, Takes Over at Cadillac

Infiniti Boss de Nysschen Resigns, Takes Over at Cadillac » AutoGuide.com News

Johan de Nysschen has announced that he is leaving his post as Infiniti CEO, and he will be taking over as President of Cadillac.


De Nysschen says he is leaving Infiniti for personal reasons, one of which is a strong desire to return to the United States where his family is. Currently, de Nysschen works at Infiniti’s new global headquarters in Hong Kong.
 

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How Infiniti will move ahead without de Nysschen

http://www.autonews.com/article/20140711/BLOG06/140719979

TOKYO -- It’s unsettling when a newly-hired executive bolts for the door after a short stay, without achieving his goals.

Dealers and employees at Infiniti understandably may feel some unease following today's news that President Johan de Nysschen is leaving the brand after just two years to take over as president of Cadillac.

To be sure, de Nysschen's unexpected departure to General Motors comes at a delicate time for the luxury brand, just as things were falling into place. But that is exactly why they needn’t worry.

Infiniti is a radically transformed brand from 2012, when Nissan Motor Corp. CEO Carlos Ghosn poached de Nysschen from his perch as president of Audi of America.

It is much, much stronger. Just tick off the list:

• Sales are charting record highs.

• Volume is growing in 31 global markets.

• Production is planned in Britain, China and Mexico.

• Joint projects with Mercedes are bearing fruit.

• A slew of new product in on the way.

• The favorable yen exchange rate is shoring up profits.

De Nysschen had a big hand in delivering some of these successes. He was popular with dealers, adept at big-picture strategy and pragmatically grounded in reality.

But he can’t take sole credit for the revival. Much was engineered and in motion before he arrived.

Indeed, many of the ideas were the brainchild of longtime Infiniti patriarch Andy Palmer, the Nissan executive vice president and chief planning officer who has overseen Infiniti since 2009 on Nissan Motor’s management council.

The good news for Infiniti: Palmer will still be at the helm.

“I’ll be stepping into the role of Infiniti president and ensuring continuity during the period in which we look for a new president,” Palmer said. “We’re certainly strong enough to ride this through, and the momentum will carry us through.”

Also still in place will be an extensive team of dedicated Infinti-only marketers, sales people, engineers, product planners and designers that didn’t even exist two years ago.

So despite losing de Nysschen, Infiniti arguably has the best infrastructure it has ever had to keep the revival moving.
 

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GM hires de Nysschen to replace Ferguson as Cadillac chief

Appointment is effective Aug. 1, reporting to GM's Ammann

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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http://www.autonews.com/article/20140714/OEM02/307149918/new-caddy-boss-knows-luxury


New mind-set for Infiniti



But de Nysschen created a new mind-set within the brand, says Matt Gunderson, owner of Infiniti of Mission Viejo near Los Angeles, and chairman of Infiniti's national dealer advisory board.
"He achieved a psychological turnaround," Gunderson says. "He turned us into a brand with a bright future."
De Nysschen's legacy at Infiniti -- besides a new naming scheme based around the letter "Q" -- will be that he pushed through a plan to make the brand its own operating entity, separate from the year-to-year decisions of the more powerful mass-market Nissan division. The two brands will continue sharing products and technologies to some degree. But thanks to de Nysschen, Infiniti will determine its own product needs, direct its own marketing course and rely on its own dedicated management for product, design, marketing and planning decisions.
In one of his first acts as Infiniti's worldwide president, the tall, eloquent executive sidelined a long-existing plan to launch an Infiniti version of the electric Nissan Leaf.
De Nysschen has generally been unenthusiastic about electric vehicles because of their high price relative to the potential fuel savings. In 2009, a reporter for MSN Autos quoted him as calling the Chevrolet Volt plug-in "a car for idiots." At Cadillac, he will be charged with jump-starting slow sales of the ELR, a plug-in that costs twice as much as the Volt.
As Infiniti dealers await the fruits of de Nysschen's planning there, they now will be watching Cadillac to see what he has in store there.
"I communicated with Johan the night of his departure," said Gunderson, the Mission Viejo dealer. "He assured me that a management team is fully in place who will carry through the plans that have been made."
He added: "Unfortunately for me, I don't also have a Cadillac dealership. Cadillac is getting a powerful new leader."
 

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de Nysschen left because Nissan wouldn't give him the product he needed to turn Infiniti into something significant. For some reason Ghosen and co were expecting him to wag his fingers and Infinti would be stellar over night.

de Nysschen's push to take Infiniti to the big leagues was met with resistance every inch of the way, because the legendary Nissan bureaucracy - and the ponderous "Nissan Way" of doing things - put paid to the notion that the powers that be at Nissan were truly ready to make the commitment that it would take to pull Infiniti up from its second-tier status to become the Japanese Audi.

And de Nysschen struggled mightily with that reality for two long years, pushing, cajoling, threatening and pushing some more, to no avail. He pushed Infiniti to garner some genuine performance credentials, because Nissan's luxury division was just waffling in the breeze of indecision. He aligned Infiniti with the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team and signed its star driver and multi-World Champion Sebastian Vettel in an attempt at jump-starting the brand's street cred. And even though it was too early to tell if it was going to work over the long run, Infiniti started to move the needle at least a little.
Honestly he's much better off at Cadillac
 
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