Infiniti has brought into its fold one of Porsche’s top executives in the United States, Michael Bartsch, appointing him vice president of Infiniti Americas. Bartsch has been Chief Operating Officer and executive vice president of Porsche Cars North America since 2005, and had been set to become chief executive of Porsche Cars Australia on Sept. 1, 2013.
Bartsch replace current vice president of Infiniti Americas, Ben Poore, starting Sept. 1, 2013. Poore decided to exit from his current post at the carmaker to pursue a business interest outside the auto industry, Infiniti said.
He, however, will remain on the Infiniti board through September. Bartsch’s hiring is the latest in a series of global personnel changes for Infiniti. Just a week ago, Infiniti named Vincent Gillet as vice president of marketing starting September. Nissan’s premium brand also named Simon Cox to head a new Infiniti design studio in London.
Cox’s previous designing stints include works for Ford, Peugeot and General Motors. Infiiniti Americas has been one of key components of the carmaker’s business since Poore headed the unit in 2008. Poore is credited with helping transform Infiniti's Japanese-luxury identity into a European-leaning rival of Audi. Infiniti, however, has been performing behind its German luxury rivals in the US in the past two years, but still managed to post a 22-percent surge in sales in 2012 to 119,877 vehicles. For this year, Infiniti was hurt by slowing sales, logging a 9-percent drop in sales in the first seven months of 2013 to just 59,995 vehicles.
“Michael Bartsch has a proven track record in the premium automotive industry and we are very pleased to welcome him to Infiniti,” said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti Motor Co., Ltd. “Michael joins us at a time when Infiniti is going through a major transformation to prepare for a significantly expanded product portfolio and future growth. His 30-years of global automotive experience will be a great asset as we grow Infiniti’s business in the Americas.” [source: Infiniti]