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Former Audi U.S. boss lands at Infiniti

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 00:00:00 -0700

The former chief of Audi of America has been given the keys to Japanese luxury brand Infiniti.

Johan de Nysschen, 52, has been named a senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co. and will be responsible for its upscale division. The move takes effect on July 1. He will report to Andy Palmer, Nissan executive vice president in charge of product planning, business strategy, marketing communications and the Infiniti division.

The new job continues the global career of de Nysschen, a native South African who led Audi's American division for nearly seven years and was with the brand for 20 years. He will now relocate to Hong Kong. He also held top positions for Audi in South Africa and Japan.

The veteran leader's departure from Audi came as a bit of a surprise late Friday afternoon. He had overseen a long period of growth for the brand in the United States as it launched new models, Super Bowl commercials and considerably raised its awareness among consumers. Audi's U.S. sales increased 10 percent in May to 11,507 units—it's best performance ever for the month in this market.

Audi of America chief operating officer Mark Del Rosso, 48, will perform de Nysschen's former duties until a replacement is named.

In a statement, Infiniti's Palmer said: “We have exciting and ambitious plans for improving the Infiniti brand, including introducing new models in all markets where premium customer demand exists. Johan is a highly successful global luxury-automotive executive, and his leadership of Infiniti will be a key factor in realizing the potential of the Infiniti brand.”

Former Audi executive Johan de Nysschen assumes a top post at Infiniti July 1.

By Greg Migliore