General Motors' executive shuffle at Cadillac could hint at more changes to come.
General Motors set off a bombshell at Cadillac last week when the company ousted Johan de Nysschen, the outsider CEO of Cadillac, and replaced him with a life-long insider. Steve Carlisle, the former head of GM Canada who will now run the company's luxury brand, has been with the company since 1982. He has been a steady hand during tough times, especially during union negotiations, but his appointment may also represent a significant shift in how Cadillac operates in the future.
In an article published by Automotive News, GM's decision to sack de Nysschen was dissected as the trade publication asked those with skin in the game to give their own points of view on where Cadillac may go from here. It said the newly appointed executive is likely to “put his own stamp on the brand,” but it's improbable that “product plans, its headquarters location or Project Pinnacle” would change anytime soon. After de Nysschen took the post, following his stint at Infiniti, the domestic luxury brand uprooted from Detroit and moved to the trendy SoHo neighborhood of New York, where it established Cadillac House.
It was after this move that Cadillac began leveraging its New York location as part of its core identity, using it in marketing materials to set it apart from the other brands based in Detroit. Dealers, particularly those in “Middle American strongholds,” were puzzled by the new marketing message, which was the brainchild of marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus. He left Cadillac shortly before de Nysschen's ouster. While Cadillac will stay in New York for now, it's possible the brand will seriously reevaluate its marketing messages—and maybe rekindle a lost love affair with Detroit. Only time will tell what's in store.