Movin' Out - Johan De Nysschen Leaves Cadillac Immediately [UPDATE]

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

There’s a Billy Joel lyric about trading a Chevy for a Cadillac. That same song talks about movin’ up and movin’ out.

Well, under Johan de Nysschen’s leadership, Cadillac traded Detroit for New York City for its global headquarters, saw global sales rise to levels not seen in 30 years thanks to China, and implemented a new naming strategy.

Now de Nysschen is moving out himself — he will be replaced by Steve Carlisle, who will be serving as the new senior vice president and president for Cadillac. Carlisle leaves GM Canada, where Travis Hester replaces him as president and managing director. Hester was formerly vice president of global product programs.

There’s no word on why, just a standard boilerplate quote from GM president Dan Ammann thanking de Nysschen for his service. There appears to be no public comment from de Nysschen. We’ve reached out to Cadillac for further comment but they have not replied as of this writing.

De Nysschen was hired as Cadillac’s boss in July 2014 after working for Audi and Infiniti.

Despite Cadillac’s global success, the brand was struggling to generate sales in the U.S. That’s likely due in part to a lineup that has been car-heavy during a time of an extreme shift in buying habits toward crossovers and SUVs. The venerable Escalade SUV has carried a lot of the sales load while the brand works to build more crossovers, such as the upcoming XT4.

U.S. sales in 2017 were down 8 percent from the previous year. Not only does Caddy currently offer just two vehicles in the crossover and SUV category — the XT5 and Escalade — but it has a smaller lineup in general than its rivals.

This doesn’t mean de Nysschen’s exit is necessarily product or sales related, especially since he implemented a 10-year plan that was said to include up to five new crossovers.

Nor does it mean a move back to Detroit for Cadillac — GM hasn’t mentioned that one way or the other.

We’ll keep an eye out for more information, as this is a story that is still developing.

UPDATE: It appears a disagreement over the timetable for product launches prompted the departure. Automotive News reports via Bloomberg that de Nysschen said that he and other GM executives agreed to disagree over what he called “philosophical differences.” The report further states that de Nysschen was hesitant to accelerate product plans to match the current market.

Reading between the lines, it suggests to us that Cadillac wanted more crossovers quickly and de Nysschen wasn’t willing to speed up the launch times, for whatever reason.

[Image: Cadillac]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Thornmark Thornmark on Apr 19, 2018

    ok, what will happen to the hipster Cadillac coffee salon? Make Cadillac the old style Am luxury and extend the Denali brand for what they're peddling as Cadillac now

  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Apr 19, 2018

    I think deadweight has nailed it. Would he accept the job? One more item: ALL Cadillacs should have V8s. Even if there is an EPA mpg penalty. Build a proper 3.0 liter V8 if you must. "V8. Because it's a Cadillac"

    • Mark Mark on Apr 19, 2018

      V8's across the board, varied sizes. if only. wouldn't that be nice. i'm not one to live on hope generally, but, we can dream.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.