Cadillac, without notice, fired company president Johan de Nysschen, 58, replacing him with Steve Carlisle, according to Automotive News.
Carlisle was most recently president and managing director of GM Canada. Nysschen will leave after a nearly four-year stint at the company. The transition is effective immediately.
“We appreciate Johan’s efforts over the last four years in setting a stronger foundation for Cadillac,” GM President Dan Ammann said in a statement. “Looking forward, the world is changing rapidly, and, beginning with the launch of the new XT4, it is paramount that we capitalize immediately on the opportunities that arise from this rate of change. This move will further accelerate our efforts in that regard.”
Nysschen made many changes to the American luxury automaker under his tenure, often with tepid results. He spearheaded moving the company’s headquarters out of Detroit to New York City. He was also a driving force behind Project Pinnacle, an ambitious plan to overhaul not only the brand but its retailers as well.
However, sales lagged, falling 11 percent since Nysschen’s first full year as boss in 2015. In 2017, U.S. sales dropped eight percent, according to Automotive News. Even though the first quarter of 2018 saw sales rise 8.1 percent, that was with the help of hefty incentives.
Nysschen also focused on sedans as the market quickly turned toward buying crossovers and SUVs. 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of their European and Asian competitors, but the brand’s top-selling SRX crossover was also left to languish as an outdated model up until 2017 when the XT5 finally replaced it. The slow rollout of competitive crossover certainly didn’t help Nysschen. It was just last month the automaker introduced the smaller XT4 crossover that’s set to go on sale this fall.
Carlisle, Nysschen’s replacement, began his career at GM in 1982 as an industrial engineering co-op student. He’s held several leadership roles throughout his career at the company, including president, Global Product Planning from 2010 to 2014, and president and managing director, Southeast Asia Operations from 2007 to 2010.
“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. “I look forward to building on our current momentum as we continue on our mission to position Cadillac at the pinnacle of luxury.”
As president and managing director of GM Canada, Carlisle, in 2017, helped lead GM to number one in retail sales in the country with Buick, GMC, and Cadillac achieving their best sales years ever.
Travis Hester, currently vice president, Global Product Programs, will replace Carlisle as managing director, GM Canada. The transition will begin immediately.