Former Cadillac Director of Marketing Melody Lee took to LinkedIn this week to respond to the news that GM’s historic luxury brand is relocating from Manhattan to Detroit – or more precisely, Detroit’s neighboring city of Warren. Cadillac moved its headquarters to Manhattan roughly four years ago in an attempt to immerse itself more deeply in the sort of wealthy, cosmopolitan culture the marque wants to reflect.
“For every single one of you rejoicing in [Cadillac’s] return, there is someone who has given their all to the brand (whether you thought they did it the right or wrong way), and is despondent over the news,” Melody Lee wrote in a post on LinkedIn Thursday. “The reverse was true in 2015, and I didn’t think through how people really were affected. I regret that deeply and ask you not to make the same mistake in the way you’re characterizing this.”
Lee was a big proponent of the Cadillac move from Detroit to New York four years ago, telling Fortune in a 2014 interview that “physical separation from Detroit was necessary.”
“If we are going to truly be a global luxury brand, we need to distance ourselves a little bit from our mothership,” she said. “Everyone in New York is always just a little bit ahead of everyone else and we need to be the brand that stands for that.”
She also suggested that the Cadillac move to Manhattan would be beneficial to hiring, as top talent would more easily be drawn to a New York location than one in the Detroit area.
As divisive as the move to Manhattan was at the time, many analysts came to agree that it was, ultimately, a sensible move for the brand. It never sat quite so well with Detroit’s citizenry, however, who felt the move was taking valuable jobs away from an already economically depressed area. And it was more than a little perverse, as Cadillac – born from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company – was in fact named in honor of Detroit’s very founder: Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.