Today General Motors promptly replaced Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen, who left the company immediately. de Nysschen has been running Cadillac since August 2014 with unprecedented autonomy to manage GM’s flagship brand.
Among de Nysschen’s bold moves with Cadillac is the brand’s move from Michigan to New York City. Its trendy SoHo headquarters was considered an imperative in de Nysschen’s turnaround plan for the brand, which includes a $12 billion product overhaul spanning several years.
The irony of today’s departure is that the fruits of de Nysschen’s efforts on the product front have not even hit the market. The first product fully developed under his eye is the 2019 XT4, which was just revealed last month at the New York Auto Show.
Cadillac’s sales during de Nysschen’s tenure have consistently declined. The decline is largely credited to the brand’s sedan-heavy lineup, which comes during a historic consumer shift toward utility vehicles. de Nysschen has taken the stance that Cadillac’s future product plan will address slumping sales, which is allegedly where he and GM executives became cross.
GM executives have been questioning why Cadillac is not tweaking its current lineup to seize on rapid shifts in consumer habits, such as the shift to utility vehicles. This philosophical difference between de Nysschen and GM brass apparently led to the two parties splitting ways today.
Shortly after de Nysschen’s departure GM announced Steve Carlisle as his replacement. Carlisle most recently served as the chief of GM Canada and has spent his entire career at General Motors. The change in leadership is not expected to have substantial impacts on Cadillac’s future product plans.