Infiniti, the luxury brand of Nissan Motor Co., recruited Johan de Nysschen to become the first president of Infiniti worldwide. While Infiniti had nearly all that it needed to become renowned worldwide -- sleek designs, good horsepower, and the exemplary leadership by Nissan’s chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, it failed to be perceived to be at par with other luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
It turned out that Infiniti lacked a senior executive that could give Infiniti his undivided attention. Most senior executives under Ghosn are vice presidents and senior vice presidents. De Nysschen is regarded as one of the stars of the North American import market.
It’s not surprising that Nissan would place that much value on de Nysschen, who as the former president of Audi of America until June 2012, was responsible for giving Infiniti a hard time in the past few years. During the past years, Infiniti and Audi have been scrambling to grab onto potential luxury car buyers who have yet to be drawn in by leaders BMW and Mercedes.
De Nysschen was largely credited for helping Audi survive the 2009 economic crisis, as he was able to increase the carmaker’s sales from around 83,000 units that year to 117,561 in 2011. Now, as Infiniti’s first president, he is tasked to concentrate on one mission: to expand Infiniti’s reach worldwide, including North America. He could probably use some of the tricks he employed while he was at Audi, such as the creation of a high-performance brand-halo sports car.