Infiniti's de Nysschen exits to take on GM's Cadillac brand

Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen is leaving Infiniti for General Motors' Cadillac brand. At Cadillac, de Nysschen will be responsible for all aspects of Cadillac globally such as sales and brand development.

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    Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti Motor Company, attends an event to announce the new Q50 sports sedan in Hong Kong, May 22, 2014. De Nysschen is leaving Infiniti for General Motors' Cadillac brand.
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Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen has resigned just two years after taking up the reins at the Japanese luxury brand. Until a replacement is found, Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer will oversee Infiniti’s operations.

It’s been revealed that de Nysschen will be heading Cadillac from this year on. Earlier today, General Motors [NYSE:GM] announced that Robert E. Ferguson, who is currently heading Cadillac, will return to his old post as a lobbyist for the automaker. South African-born de Nysschen will step into the top role at Cadillac on September 1, where he will report to GM president Dan Ammann.

It’s not clear why de Nysschen has chosen to jump ship after such a short stint at Infiniti. Prior to leading the brand, the 54-year-old had worked at Audi for almost two decades, mostly in the US. At Infiniti, he was based at the automaker’s recently-established headquarters in Hong Kong.

Infiniti originally sought de Nysschen’s help to take the brand global and oversee a raft of new products introduced. One of his first moves at Infiniti was to introduce a new model-wide naming strategy centered on the letter Q. And his plans seem to be working. Just this week, Infiniti said its first-half sales rose 30 percent to a record, with deliveries in China more than doubling from a year earlier.

At Cadillac, de Nysschen will be responsible for all aspects of Cadillac globally including sales, pricing and network development, strategic brand development and marketing and product portfolio planning, including critical input for product engineering and design.

“I have for some time now been impressed by how the new General Motors has been transformed into a formidable force in the industry,” de Nysschen said in a statement. “The combination of strong corporate leadership and exceptional engineering resources presents the perfect combination to restore Cadillac to its place among global premium brands.”

Note, Infiniti has hired some new executives in recent months. On April 1, Infiniti named Francois Bancon its new vice president of product strategy, and this month it hired former BMW executives Gaby-Luise Wuest and Daniel Kirchert to serve as new vice president for global operations and help Chinese operations, respectively.

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