DETROIT | Mon Aug 5, 2013 2:01pm EDT
(Reuters) - Don Butler, the head of global strategy for General Motors Co's luxury (GM.N) Cadillac brand, resigned on Monday about four months after he was assigned to boost the nameplate's international sales.
Butler made the decision to leave for personal reasons after "three years of pouring everything into Cadillac," GM spokesman David Caldwell said. "He wanted to step back, spend more time with his family, consider new avenues."
The decision came as a surprise and Butler was asked to stay on at GM, where he is an "extraordinarily well-liked guy," Caldwell said. He said the company was looking for Butler's replacement but offered no time table.
In April, Butler was named to the newly created role of vice president for global Cadillac strategic development. He reported to Bob Ferguson, GM's global Cadillac chief.
GM's drive to make Cadillac a global brand took shape after the company's 2009 bankruptcy restructuring. In June, the No. 1 U.S. automaker unveiled plans to expand its retail network in China, the world's largest car market.
Automotive News first reported Butler's resignation.
Cadillac executive Don Butler resigned his post at General Motors today, as the automaker’s luxury brand tries to position itself for growth in the U.S. and China.
Butler said in an e-mail that his departure is “a personal decision,” and a GM spokesman confirmed that Cadillac’s global leader, Bob Ferguson, asked Butler to stay.
“As I’ve told others, I just need to take a step back to recalibrate, reassess my priorities,” Butler said. “I know it’s time for a change but I don’t know what’s next. I'm trusting that God will provide.”
Butler’s exit comes at an inopportune time for GM, which is trying to capitalize on Cadillac’s U.S. success by expanding in other regions, especially China, where Cadillac wants to triple sales by 2015.
It also comes a few weeks after GM dismissed Cadillac’s U.S. sales chief Chase Hawkins, citing a violation of company policy. And it comes as Susan Docherty, director of Chevrolet and Cadillac in Europe, is set to leave GM in September.
Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said of Butler’s departure: “It’s not house cleaning.
“In fact Bob and other leaders asked him to stay on. Don’s here in the office today — and told our team that his decision is purely on a personal level. After three years of putting everything into Cadillac, he is stepping away for some personal time, and to consider new avenues in his life.”
In April, GM shifted Butler from Cadillac vice president for U.S. marketing to Cadillac vice president of global strategic development. Steve Majoros, former managing director of advertising agency Campbell-Ewald, was named director of global Cadillac marketing, and both reported to Ferguson, who was appointed vice president of global Cadillac in October,
In his new role, Butler was charged with identifying and designing global expansion strategies for the brand.
GM has injected new life into the luxury brand with new products in recent years, including the ATS compact sedan, which was named North American Car of the Year in January.
The brand’s U.S. sales are up 30% for the year to 99,331 units.
Butler told reporters in March that Cadillac still has “a big challenge to be thought of and spoken of in the same breath as BMW and Mercedes.”
It’s not the first time Butler has left GM. In 2009, he resigned after 28 years with the company, frustrated with the company’s direction. He spent time with his family and then joined a Seattle software company.
Just six weeks later, he was riding down an escalator at Detroit Metro Airport when he ran into GM North America President Mark Reuss, who soon convinced Butler to rejoin the company.
Still say he was forced out! Cadillac isn't going to fire him on the spot after all of his years at GM. They (GM) can't afford bad press now that things are starting to click.
Think about it, he has about 30 years combined at GM and taking down upwards of $600,000 to 1 mil a year. Would you quit that job? How bad could it be? He's most likely getting a bonus to stay on until he is replaced.
I'm guessing he's 50ish, so he does have a possible career somewhere else, but at what $$$ pay.
Yeh GM has been letting go of a lot of people lately they just fired a bunch of people that was in charge of their middle east operations for tampering with emission testing and ect forcing Gm to recall a bunch of vehicles