After just two brief years as the president of Infiniti Motor Co., boss Johan de Nysschen has officially resigned. He personally handed his letter of resignation to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn approximately one week ago, and will leave by the end of the month.
Stefan Weinmann, Infiniti’s general manager of global communications, told The Wall Street Journal a bit more about what prompted de Nysschen’s departure. He bluntly explains that, “He left to pursue other opportunities. We have started to search for a successor.”
What “other opportunities” could Weinmann be talking about?
Turns out, the former Infiniti president is moving over to General Motors as the head of their premium brand, Cadillac. That’s right; the former Audi boss got poached again. He’d apparently been disgruntled under Ghosn from the start, quoted early in his employment as saying that the Nissan CEO’s goal of 500k premium car sales by 2020 was entirely unrealistic.
So, what does this mean for Nissan’s luxury arm?
Right now, not much. Nissan CPO Andy Palmer will take over the reins at Infiniti until a suitable replacement can be found. More importantly, Nissan is still confident about the brand’s future, stating, “We’re convinced that [Infiniti] has a very promising future and Johan’s departure doesn’t change that potential.” An analyst from Macquarie Securities named Janet Lewis also told WSJ that the loss of de Nysschen shouldn’t have any effect on the company’s performance.
At this point, you might be curious about what Johan de Nysschen accomplished during his time at Infiniti. In short, he helped, but he still had more to do.
Infiniti’s US sales are still an unsolved problem, as Infiniti continues to lose market share to the likes of Audi and Lexus. However, international sales are growing enough to make up for it, with the biggest sales potential coming from China. The new Infiniti Q50 has been an especially huge hit there, making up 50% of the brand’s total sales since its launch at the beginning of 2014. Just a week ago, before his resignation went public, de Nysschen estimated that they could quadruple their sales in China by the end of 2016.
In the end, there’s nothing to be worried about. Both Carlos Ghosn and Andy Palmer have had a hand in Infiniti’s direction since before de Nysschen ever joined the force, and they’ll continue to do so into the future. And so Infiniti will continue to launch all the new products that have planned for the next couple years. They’ll continue to expand production to new markets like China, and they’ll continue to make profitable joint ventures with luxury titans like Mercedes. The only thing we have to worry about is who will step in next to boost Infiniti’s progress in the right direction.