The new global chief of Cadillac is 53-year-old Robert Ferguson, a former AT&T executive. Ferguson, who was GM's vice president of global public policy, has been appointed to the new position of the vice president of Cadillac worldwide. He will be reporting directly to GM CEO Dan Akerson.
Ed Whitacre, who was the GM CEO back then, had recruited Ferguson, who was one among several outsiders credited for re-inventing the company after its 2009 bankruptcy. For Ferguson’s first automotive operations role, he is tasked to transform the American luxury brand into a formidable global player and to better compete with Asian and European automakers.
Last year, Cadillac reported global sales of 202,559 units, an increase from 183,716 in 2010. However, 80% of last year’s sales were in North America. On the other hand, BMW, the top-selling luxury automotive brand in the world, sold 1.38 million units in 2011. Volkswagen Group’s Audi fell behind with sales of 1.3 million while Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz division sold 1.26 million units.
Ferguson will immediately concentrate on Cadillac marketing and advertising and will turn his attention to the brand’s sales beginning Jan. 1. Don Butler, Cadillac’s U.S. vice president of marketing, will be reporting to Ferguson. By the start of next year, Chase Hawkins, the brand's U.S. vice president of sales and service, will report to Ferguson. Ferguson started in GM in early 2010 when he was brought in by Whitacre, his former boss from AT&T. Later in 2010, Akerson succeeded Whitacre.