Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus Resigning Over Health Issues?37
This past Saturday, Cadillac’s chief marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus tendered his resignation from the job, but is reportedly leaving on good terms. He’s also not leaving to pursue any new opportunity in particular, but instead, he will focus on his health.
Marketing Daily reported on Sunday that Ellinghaus will return to Germany and undergo surgery which will require a six-month-long recovery. Ellinghaus’ resignation reportedly came as a surprise to President Johan de Nysschen, who said “the door will always be open” for him.
According to our sources close to the matter, we understand that Ellinghaus is a seasoned distance runner, and the surgery and extensive recovery are stemming from complications from running.
All employees who previously reported to Ellinghaus will report directly to de Nysschen until a new CMO is tapped. Additionally, de Nysschen said the marketing strategy and focus points will not shift under the new CMO. The search for a new marketing chief will include outside candidates, according to the report.
Regardless if Ellinghaus’ departure is solely based on health reasons, Cadillac sales have been floundering here in the United States, with a lopsided lineup that consists of four sedans, just one crossover, and one SUV. The marketing strategies of these Cadillac products have received mixed reception since the “Dare Greatly” slogan came into focus.
Ellinghaus’ resignation is effective December 31. We here at GMA wish him a speedy recovery.
This story has been updated to reflect new information GM Authority has learned regarding Ellinghaus’ health complications.
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No! Keep the door locked with him outside!!
I guess I was wrong about JDN.
Poof….there goes a chance for change.
Before this degenerates into a mental mess.
I will say a prayer for him and his family. Having dealt with health issues in our own family over years it can be a tough thing on everyone.
Sorry to hear.
Here’s to a speedy recovery.
I wish Uwe well in his recovery, but he’s been the wrong person for the marketing job. The fact that he’s going back to Germany for surgery and recovery shows that he is not someone who believes as strongly in the USA as he does Germany. And the results under him have been terrible – why would JDN want him back? To “dare even more greatly”?
Bo Schembechler once said he wanted a Michigan man to run the Michigan (basketball) team, and they won the NCAA championship soon after. Cadillac deserves a Cadillac man (or woman) running the marketing. Someone who understands why Cadillac was so successful in the past, not someone who thinks the USA should follow Germany’s lead.
“The fact that he’s going back to Germany for surgery and recovery shows that he is not someone who believes as strongly in the USA as he does Germany.”
Shut up you facetious liar. You’ve wanted him gone for years, and when he’s returning to Germany for medical reasons, you give him one last kick in the face on the way out because you can’t be arsed to show any compassion. You ever think he’s returning to Germany because it could be a degenerative terminal illness that would make flying difficult in the future? I wouldn’t expect you ever show compassion if it had to come at expression of weakness on your part, you jingoist f_ck.
Grow up Grawbuddy. As I said, I wish Uwe good health – I meant it. I’ve had life-threatening cancer and so have several of my family members, it’s no joke of course. Uwe is not a bad guy, just a guy who was in the wrong job. Yes I did make one more observation about where he is choosing to get his treatment. Don’t you think that after Uwe talking up NYC so much (and the coffee house and Hamptons excursions), he could have found a decent doctor there? Some of the world’s best surgeons are in NYC.
Uwe came here acting as an expert on the US marketing of an American icon. As if he were embracing the USA himself, as an American. But when he needed medical help, he went back to Germany, despite being in NYC – home of many fine surgeons. What’s wrong with my being observant? I have plenty of compassion. You just don’t like it when my observations make you realize that your views may be wrong.
I’m no jingoist, but I see nothing wrong with pointing out that a deep grounding in a culture is essential to understanding how to market to that culture. I would not expect to be able to market sushi restaurants in Japan, I don’t have the background for it. I also would not expect to be able to sell donuts and Canadian bacon and ale and tuques to people where you live, better than you can. Just because someone understands one culture better than another, doesn’t make them a jingoist.
“I’m no jingoist, but I see nothing wrong with pointing out that a deep grounding in a culture is essential to understanding how to market to that culture. I would not expect to be able to market sushi restaurants in Japan, I don’t have the background for it. I also would not expect to be able to sell donuts and Canadian bacon and ale and tuques to people where you live, better than you can. Just because someone understands one culture better than another, doesn’t make them a jingoist.”
You think Tims is Canadian? It’s owned by a joint American-Brazilian investment firm.
So, yes, I actually think it is entirely possible that a foreign owned AND managed company can present itself as being a quintessential component of a nations identity.
Are you (foolishly) confident enough to think that Americans care about the nationality of those who head their quintessentially American companies? You seem to think so, when in fact the American buying public is just as ignorant as the Canadian buying public. They just want the product, not your weak excuses.
And yes, you still are a jingoist.
Grawbuddy, what about your country’s “Canadian content” rules? Your own government does not think that non-Canadians can produce content worthy of a Canadian audience.
‘Canadian content’ applies to traditional broadcasting systems and to Canadian film/tv/streaming production companies that wish to apply for a tax credit. It also stipulates minimum percentages of broadcasted content on any given network platform that applies for the tax credit be Canadian in their production origin.
It doesn’t apply to manufacturing, service, or hospitality industries.
You’re still a jingoist, by the way.
Grawbuddy, I don’t think you understand the meaning of “jingoist”. I happen to think that a mature Japanese native is going to have a better understanding of the Japanese market than a South African, German, or American. That’s not jingoism, it’s common sense. It’s reality.
One of the mistakes the USA made in Vietnam under General Westmoreland was that we did not bother to try to understand the Vietnamese culture. We did not have reliable Vietnamese advisors who could tell us about the people, history, and culture of Vietnam – and make sure that our message was tailored to that market.
We assumed the South Vietnamese would simply embrace our ideas of freedom and free markets without question. The “jingoists” there were the Americans who assumed they didn’t need local input to “market” to the local culture. I am saying the opposite, that you do need local input wherever you attempt to market.
He probably still has friends and family in Germany.
Plus- over the past few years we found out most of the people who work in the Automotive press are too stupid to work CUE. Do you really wanna be the guy in charge of selling Super Cruise?
So in a time of great personal concern and a difficult time for Uwe you would prefer
1) He stay 4000 miles away from his family in Germany, to prove a point?
2) Johan come out an publicly state that he is glad he’s gone and tell him to never come back? You sound like a great boss to work for
Chris, Uwe kept talking about how great it was for Cadillac to be in NYC instead of Detroit. And as the marketing director, he was supposed to be an expert on what Cadillac meant to Americans (the most profitable market for Cadillac). I assume that his wife was already with him in the USA, not back in Germany.
I don’t really care whether he went back to Germany for treatment or stayed in NYC, and I do wish him well with his treatment and recovery. But I still think my observation is valid – despite all his talk about NYC, he decided to go to Germany for treatment. It just makes me wonder how much he thought of the USA, or if he was just here for a paycheck. Not that there’s anything wrong with moving for a paycheck, but when you are supposedly in tune with Americans (despite being born elsewhere) and you talk up NYC incessantly, I think it’s interesting that he’s showing where his sentiments really lie, when his health is on the line.
As to JDN “keeping the door open” for Uwe, no I don’t think JDN should have said he’s glad he’s gone. He could have just wished Uwe well and said nothing more. The reality – despite our sympathy for Uwe’s health – is that he was the wrong person for the job, and that has been reflected in the weak marketing and weak sales. The coffee house, fashion shows, and helicopter rides to the Hamptons obviously weren’t resonating with American car buyers. “Dare Greatly” wasn’t a tagline that sold cars to Americans. It’s quite possible that Uwe would have been great at marketing German cars to Germans, we do know that he was at BMW for several years. I don’t know how things were going for Uwe at Montblanc, but obviously Bob Ferguson thought enough of him to bring him to Cadillac (along with another Ferguson choice, Melody Lee).
I’m not trying to kick someone who is down; as far as I can tell Uwe is a nice guy and I wish him well. My problem is not with Uwe for taking the Cadillac marketing job, its with the powers at Cadillac for thinking he was right for the job. Cadillac is an American icon, and it does not need to be remade as a German wannabe. Nor is that the best path to high profits for Cadillac/GM, as the field is already plenty crowded with actual German cars and other copycats. Cadillac has a proud history, it’s an American icon. I hope that the next marketing director will be someone with the background to fully understand what Cadillac means.
Lesson learned: don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions until the whole matter is understood! I’m sorry to hear about his situation. All this hoopla over his resignation being the result of less-than-expected performance or any supposed structural changes! I hope he makes a strong recovery!
Should be a lesson not to judge Cadillac based on old product and unknown plans for the future till there is clarity on what they are exactly doing.
So many have not one single clue of what is coming or what they are going to do. Yet they piss and moan over lame duck products that would be foolish to invest in as they are going to be gone soon.
Actually we do have strong clues as to where JDN plans to take Cadillac. It’s in his history and his interviews. He plans to make Cadillac another BMW, all “driver’s cars”, all RWD if possible, all rounded edge styling. He obviously couldn’t care less about what Cadillac has meant to the USA or why it was successful. The clues are there if you look. Or you can pretend not to see them, for whatever reason.
One thing we can’t see in JDN’s background, anything that says he’s qualified for the job of CEO. He was essentially a marketing/sales guy for Audi USA at a time when German branded cars were becoming faddish, and when Audi of Germany was putting out decent product. But the idea that Audi USA doubled their market share due to actions by JDN is laughable. All this confidence in JDN is misplaced. Watch and see. JDN could make exact clones of BMWs, and they still wouldn’t sell well because they don’t have the German badge. Make something else – like real Cadillacs – what a concept.
Well that was specifically vague.
What engines and models will the CT5 be offered in. Will it also be a coupe? Will it have a V8 and which one? Will there be a standard edition like every other Luxury MFG makes as they are not a M cars?
In essence you really have little clue and no details.
As for JDN he is not a CEO. He is the manager of a brand and managing a brand generally falls to marketing guys or to engineers.
No one is cloning BMW or Benz they just happen to be spot on where the segment is and that is what they offer. They are not offering things people lost interest in like the DTS.
The fact BMW and Benz now define the segment is because they built the kind of cars people wanted to buy. Cadillac build the cars they wanted people to buy but found they did not care about FWD tributes to the past and got left behind.
You confuse the German cars as being German. The truth is they are targeted to meet customers expectations and give the majority of people what they want to buy.
Cadillac will focus and sell what people are buying and the types of vehicles people are buying not what some small group off eccentric buyers are belly aching about. They build what you wanted and ended up where they are. Things had to change.
Cadillac stopped defining the segment long ago and all the other brands have redefined it. Sorry if it is not what you want but that is where it going to be.
Lets just see what appears. The market will decide this one.
Scott3, sorry but German cars are German. They are built for short trips on the smooth-as-glass Autobahn – where you can drive over 100 mph if you choose – not US roads, US commuting or US highway cruises. German cars are also built to German consumer taste; Germans love to be “busy” drivers while Americans prefer to relax. German cars are typically over-engineered, they add unnecessary but supposedly “cool” features (hey lets have 10 forward gears, because we can!); as a result German car reliability is BAD, but they don’t care. That German luxury cars are popular in the US now is a FAD and a STATUS SYMBOL, not that these cars are built the way Americans truly want them to be.
Human beings have not suddenly evolved to favor cramped, hard-riding, over-engineered and unreliable, NASCAR-like performance, at least in large numbers. Sure there will always be the 15% that prefers that type of ride, especially under age 40, but then there’s the 85% that wants comfort, reliability, and style. Cadillac once catered to that crowd and sold far more cars, far more profitability than today. Then they decided to imitate the Germans, and sales have tanked. The answer is not to hire more people named Johan and Uwe and double down on the “copy the Germans” strategy, it’s to get back to the core values that made Cadillac #1, but with modern AMERICAN cars, not replicas of the past.
Yes the market will decide this one. Scott3, if you seriously think JDN is the answer, perhaps you’ll be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge in JDN’s NYC.
Just because a car is not a floating boat does not make it American just as if it can go around corners does not make it German.
German cars are not over engineered anymore and even if they were is that a problem?
10 gear? They do it to get more MPG and meet emission not to be cool. Might note GM is doing a 10 speed to get MPG in a truck not to be cool.
As for reliability has not always been a problem and like all cars today with more electronics and more things like cylinder drop and such to meet CAFE and Emission more problems can happen.
You can make what ever argument you like but the majority of the cars sold today are luxury sport sedans. If you want smooth ride the buyers have gone to CUV and SUV models. Cadillac has a large range of these coming in FWD, RWD and AWD. Like em or hate em that is what people are buying.
Buick has Built a modern day DTS and it is really a good car. It is called a Lacrosse. I know you might have heard of it but may have never seen one as people are just not buying them. It holds little interest to the buying public. It is comfortable and rides great. It is not NASCAR like in any ways. It is even available in FWD and AWD yet they can’t give them away.
The fact is you are much like my Mother In Law who is not longer the benchmark for where the auto market is today. Most sedans are becoming a hard sell and they now have to entertain the folks who are looking for more in performance and better handling. Most people have long left this segment and moved to a Denali Yukon or Jeep Grand Cherokee.
I don’t know if what JDN has planned will work. None of us do as none of us have all the details. Once these product arrive over the next couple years we can better gauge what is going on.. Even a few new products will not totally revamp decades of failure at Cadillac. It will take time and continued product to earn the trust and the admiration of the people.
Luckily Cadillac has time as in this segment it takes so few cars to turn a profit at this price point. This buys a lot of time to earn that back.
JDN could very well fail but till we see the product and see the execution of the product will we be able to make an intelligent observation on this. To make a cut and dry bitter this is going to fail [email protected] is groundless and just flat out ignorant.
The floaty boats are not the way forward no more than making everything a V series. the way forward is to build advanced cars that have well sorted chassis, class leading engines that do not come in a truck, class leading fit and finish, with compelling styling that is neither a copy of other models nor a polarizing to the point it limits sales.
What is in GM court is the fact the SUV and CUV models have taken off. GM makes some of the best in the world. Image really sells here and Cadillac does have a decent image when it comes to the SUV segment. In fact they are the ones who have set the bench mark for the segment. [Note I did not say they build American SUV models.
The one thing you also need to get into your head. China is going to be the largest market or all of these cars and the luxury end is going to grow as they want more luxury there. So if it happens that is going to effect Cadillac more as they are one of the bigger players there. That will feed into the global product of all of them.
The reality you fail to grasp is this is now a global market where these products have to appeal to all the markets they are in as it is just too expensive to cater to each and everyone anymore.
As for your bridge I am well grounded and already know full and well that that bridge is not for sale but it is a bridge we still need to cross to go uptown.
Complaining about crossing it is not going to get you to Manhattan. Other wise you will be left in Brooklyn and do you really want to be left there?
Scott3, Cadillac is selling far fewer “sporty” sedans today than it sold prior to imitating the Germans. And of the sedans they do sell now, the non-sporty XTS is far outselling each of the other 3.
You can deride the beloved “Cadillac Ride” as “floaty boats”, but Cadillac was the proud leader of the true luxury ride – and that meant genuine roominess and comfort, the “magic carpet ride”, not the harsh and jittery German sport ride (unless you are on the Autobahn, which we don’t have in the USA). “Floaty boat” is a term used in the professional auto press, copying each other’s text, most of whom have never even had a ride in a classic Cadillac.
Cadillac also meant reliability, which IS a luxury feature – who wants to keep taking their car to the dealer, even if that dealer “makes you feel special” (which is pretty dumb since they are just earning a paycheck to act that way). Imitating the Germans meant that reliability does not matter. Yet when Cadillac killed reliability with cars like the Catera (ironically a totally German car, including build location) and V8-6-4 engine, it hurt their image, rather than helping it as they expected their “Germanization” to do.
JDN is just “more of the same Germanization”, which is going to mean even lower sales for Cadillac. It did not have to be that way. Cadillac should be proud enough to go its own way, with its own values, not as a copycat. JDN is a South African who does not understand Cadillac, he thinks that German cars are best for everyone, they are not. The vast majority of luxury car drivers will not ever use the supposedly great German/Autobahn features, but they will pay for them in lack of ride comfort and lack of reliability.
Why so bitter are you wanting your May Kay edition replaced?
You are a real laugh.
The XTS is a fleet car at is joe know to do livery work not as much private sales.
The Catera? It was never a Cadillac it was an Opel badge job and were it was build had nothing to do with it the car was just the same crap GM of that era was making.
The 8-6-4 was pure American and done at a time when there was not enough computer and too little GM development. Might note at this time Cadillac was forced to do all FWD cars and make them smaller on the full size GM platform while the customers all left for RWD sedans from Europe, hmm wonder who made the right choice?
What is you German hang up? With pushing this agenda you appear even more out of touch.
Cadillac needs to address the global market vs just a Walmart Luxury. If you have not learned from the mistakes of the last 35 years you will never get it.
In the words of Sherif Buford T justice
“The GD Germans have got nothing to do with this”
Scott3, true the V8-6-4 was not German, but it was Cadillac no longer being Cadillac. It was an attempt to increase MPG without working out the problems – i.e. they took their eye off the “reliability” ball. And they haven’t made reliability a priority again since then. After all, the Germans don’t.
I am not hung up on the Germans, I just want Cadillac to be Cadillac. German roads and driving culture is far different than in the USA, and it’s foolish for the former US luxury leader to abandon its own values for those of someone else.
If Cadillac abandoned its core values to imitate Spanish cars, or Norwegian cars, or Nigerian cars, I would make the same comments. It’s not about the Germans. It’s about Cadillac being Cadillac. They need to get back to that. And for starters, hire an American who understands what Cadillac means to the US market, to replace Uwe.
Scott3, no one is saying Cadillac needs to build “floaty boats” again, what we want is a car that can actually be driven over the pothole laden American streets, without actually feeling them or having to buy new tires. I’m fine with a sports sedan or 2, but I think the market is already overcrowded with them, and Cadillac should focus on what they are good at. If anyone has seen my last post, I’m all for Cadillac having both a “sporty”, V-Sport variant of every car, but also having a “premiere” version of every car. The V-sport would have larger brakes, tighter suspension and sporty seats, and would focus more on style and sportiness than the comfort model. But the most important thing is options, the customer should have the option to be stuck with the horrifically uncomfortable seats in the current CTS/ATS, or they should be able to get the rear CC in the CT6 without having to buy the T.V.’s. A customer should be able to choose weather they want a comfortable commuter car that can get out of its own way, or a sporty, track car. Its all about the options!
Henry, good points – unfortunately JDN has decided that Cadillac will be all sporty cars, all the time, once he’s been on the job long enough to make that happen. This goes against Cadillac’s history and against what the vast majority of US luxury car buyers want. But he’s doing it anyway, because it’s what he likes, and he’s being pushed forward by professional auto writers who prefer that all vehicles be sport-mode only: coupes, sedans, SUVs, minivans, golf carts, etc.
Next year Cadillac will have great products!
Always next year.
Sorry to hear it’s over health issues. (Hoped JDN had woken up)
For the rest, good riddance.
I wish Uwe Ellinghaus good fortune and a speedy recovery. His health is the most important thing; Cadillac will find its way.
HJ Rothenberg MD
Regardless how people feel about Cadillac and if they are headed in the right direction , maybe just a bit of humanity for a person who felt the need to resign because of his health issues .
It just shows that we are all human and sometimes bad things happen to good people .
It;s easy to sit behind our computers and complain when not one of us really knows what goes on in the Corporation or at Warren . We can speculate but until any of us actually has a seat at the table all we are doing is guessing .
Here’s hoping Mr. Ellinghaus has a good outcome and a speedy recovery .
Marketing under him was non existent.
Sorry he is sick.
Wish him all the best back in Germany, where he should stay.
Who said he was sick?
Surgery and extended recovery.
From distance running. Maybe it’s more serious. Maybe it’s a graceful exit (not a leave of absence – a resignation).
Whatever it is, I wish him health.
Poor guy, I wish him well.
No reason to doubt this at all. Real people, not actors.
Now JDN should join him in his recovery.
Hopefully Mr. Ellinghaus will be replaced by someone with at least a minimal understanding of Marketing 101. Unfortunately Mr. Ellinhause did not, but I am sorry to hear that he has health issues.
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