General Motors Co. (GM:US), pushing to expand Cadillac’s success outside of the U.S., promoted Don Butler to a new position overseeing the luxury brand’s global strategy and hired an outsider to direct marketing.
Butler, who had led Cadillac’s U.S. marketing, including the introduction of the new ATS compact sedan last year, becomes vice president of global Cadillac strategic development effective today, GM said in an e-mailed statement. He continues to report to Bob Ferguson, the Cadillac brand’s head for the past six months.
The ATS, aimed at customers who might otherwise buy a BMW 3 Series, helped fuel a 49 percent Cadillac sales gain last month in the U.S. It was the sixth straight month of gains for Cadillac, which is rolling out 10 new models by 2015. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson wants the luxury brand to rival Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW and Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi.
“Cadillac is continuing to expand in our home market and globally, which demands that we continually enhance our team’s focus and capabilities,” Ferguson, vice president of global Cadillac, said in the statement. “Don’s international experience and deep product knowledge will be major assets as we take our global growth to the next level.”
As marketing vice president, Butler has helped change the perception of the brand during the past year with the introduction of the ATS and XTS, a new full-size sedan, and the redesigned CTS, revealed at the New York auto show last month.
The XTS began production earlier this year in China and the ATS is planned to go on sale in that country later this year or next. GM aims to increase Cadillac sales in China to more than 100,000 by 2015 from about 30,000 last year.
GM also named Steve Majoros to lead Cadillac’s global marketing team as a director reporting to Ferguson. He joins GM from Campbell Ewald, where he was a managing director, GM said.
In March, GM announced it was conducting a review of its advertising agency for Cadillac. Fallon Worldwide, which has the account, was invited to participate with the other agencies, the automaker said.
While the automaker didn’t disclose which other agencies it’s talking to, GM executives have already been in communication with Campbell Ewald about the Cadillac business, two people familiar with the efforts said at the time.
Ferguson said last month at the New York auto show that he aims to have resolution on the matter by mid-May.
“We’re building an international brand so we want to have agencies with capabilities that will help us build that brand internationally,” Ferguson told reporters in March.
Ferguson was named head of Cadillac in October as part of Akerson’s reorganization to move the automaker away from regional fiefdoms toward a company built around global brands and operations. Akerson has said that the company’s two main pillars globally will be Chevrolet and Cadillac. A similar global leader for Chevrolet hasn’t been named.
GM slipped (GM:US) 0.1 percent to $27.80 at 11:11 a.m. New York time. The shares rose 3.1 percent this year through yesterday, trailing the S&P 500’s 12 percent gain.
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