Cadillac president departs as turnaround hits snag

Alicia Cross
April 19, 2018

While only in charge of the luxury American brand since 2014, de Nysschen oversaw many ambitious projects, like the opening of the posh SoHo "Cadillac House" HQ and the introduction of the subscription-based "Book by Cadillac" service.

After four years at the helm of General Motors' luxury brand, Johan de Nysschen is out as the head of Cadillac, and will be replaced by General Motors' Canada's Managing Director Steve Carlisle.

GM offered no explanation for the exit of Nysschen, saying that he is leaving the company "effective immediately". Ongoing growth for the XT5 has helped the brand recover slightly in the first three months of 2018, but dealers will have to wait until fall before the XT4 arrives.

"It was a very bold move", de Nysschen told WardsAuto during an interview in Detroit earlier this year. The new chief attempted to make Cadillac a more distinct entity, establishing a new headquarters in a trendy New York City neighborhood. Not only did the Cadillac's sedans lack the features and quality of their European and Asian competitors, but the brand's top-selling SRX crossover was also left to languish as an outdated model up until 2017 when the XT5 finally replaced it.

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GM touted Carlisle's success running the Canadian business, saying the company was ranked first in automotive retail sales in the country previous year. "It is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change", Ammann said.

In De Nysschen's defense, Cadillac launched a full-size sedan, the CT6, just as United States sales were shifting to SUVs. He has been replaced by Steve Carlisle, who most recently served as president and managing director of GM Canada. "This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard", Amman continued, sounding like he was displeased with Cadillac's product strategy.

Like de Nysschen, Carlisle also will report to Ammann.

"The potential for Cadillac across the globe is incredible and I'm honored to be chosen to be a part of mapping that future", said Carlisle, in a statement released by GM on Wednesday afternoon. Will Cadillac's plans change? "I look forward to building on our current momentum as we continue on our mission to position Cadillac at the pinnacle of luxury". He is a GM lifer, beginning his career in 1982 as an industrial engineering co-op student at the Oshawa, Canada, assembly plant. His previous position as GM Canada's top brass will be filled by Travis Hester, now vice president of Global Product Programs.

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