In the past four years, General Motors luxury brand Cadillac has been trying to reinvent itself under the guidance of CEO Johan de Nysschen, an ex-Infiniti/Audi executive brought in to re-energise the brand with new ideas, management style and positive corporate results.
However, in the eyes of GM management even four years of work by Nysschen failed to deliver and he was considered too conservative in his vision and hence was deemed to unfit to meet the brand’s short-term aspirations.
In a formal announcement GM has confirmed that Steve Carlisle, the president and managing director of the automaker’s Canadian operations has been chosen as Nysschen’s replacement noting that “The transition will begin immediately.”
Reacting to the decision, Nysschen has pointed to his blunt style as a contributing factor in getting ousted from his position as head of Cadillac.
“I would conclude that in their opinion, I did not challenge hard enough,” the ousted CEO said.
“GM is a very complex organization to navigate. I saw my role to act as a change agent to challenge the status quo, in the reasoning that more of the same would not lead to a different outcome,” added Nysschen.
When Nysschen took charge of the brand he focused efforts on long-term goals, aiming to increase Cadillac’s brand value and reduce reliance on profit-killing incentives to help drive sales.
To do this Nysschen led a naming shift, starting with the flagship CT6 sedan and in the process failed to address the shifting buyer trends towards SUVs. Naturally, GM management interpreted the move as ignoring the short-term goals and after a wait-and-watch period, decided to drop the axe.
Meanwhile, GM lifer, Carlisle has been praised for leading a “resurgence of the GM Canada franchise.”