Former GM Canada president and managing director Steve Carlisle assumes the role de Nysschen leaves behind

In a move that nobody saw coming, Cadillac has let go of company president Johan de Nysschen after a four-year stint as the main decision-maker for the American automaker. Steve Carlisle, most recently the president and managing director of GM Canada, will step in to take de Nysschen’s place as Caddy’s new president, effective immediately.

2019 Cadillac XT4 Exterior
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He was present at the New York Auto Show earlier this month for the unveiling of the XT4 crossover.

On the surface, this is bombshell news. There were no indications that Cadillac was considering firing Johan de Nysschen. He was present at the New York Auto Show earlier this month for the unveiling of the XT4 crossover. He took questions, commented on other Cadillac plans, and gave no sign that there was anything wrong with his future with the company.

But a closer look at Cadillac’s fortunes in recent years paint a different picture. Since his first full year as the company’s boss in 2015, sales of Cadillac models have dropped 11 percent. Last year alone, sales dropped eight percent compared to its year-on-year numbers. Granted, results have been better this year, but the company’s inability to consistently grow to become a legitimate contender to Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz was one of the biggest reasons why de Nysschen was let go.

It wasn’t the only one, either. As the head decision-maker of the brand, some of de Nysschen’s moves haven’t paid off as well as the company hoped. He was a driving force in Cadillac focusing on its sedan offerings, even as the market started to gradually gravitate towards crossovers and SUVs. De Nysschen eventually warmed up to launching more utility vehicles, including them in an ambitious plan designed to expand the whole lineup.

GM Fired Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen Because Sales are Down and He Couldn't Keep Up With Audi, Mercedes, and BMW
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De Nysschen eventually warmed up to launching more utility vehicles, including them in an ambitious plan designed to expand the whole lineup.

That expansion plan has been a mixed bag so far. Some of the company’s models, for example, have been criticized for not having the same level of luxury as some of its German rivals. A lot of these factors likely contributed to de Nysschen’s axing.

“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.”

It’s safe to say, too, that Steve Carlisle has his work cut out for him as the new Caddy boss. He does have the benefit of having successfully run GM Canada, which rose to number one in retail sales in Canada. A number of GM’s brands, including Buick, GMC, and Cadillac all posted their best sales years ever under Carlisle’s watch. He’s going to have a much bigger responsibility now that he has to oversee Cadillac’s operations, but he’s proven himself to be up to the task.

“The potential for Cadillac across the globe is incredible, and I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of mapping that future,” he said. “I look forward to building on our current momentum as we continue on our mission to position Cadillac at the pinnacle of luxury.”

References

2019 Cadillac XT4 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Cadillac XT4.

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Source: Automotive News

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