Nissan hires BMW executive to run Infiniti brand image

The Japanese automaker announced on Wednesday that its luxury division Inifiniti is hiring BMW executive Roland Krueger. He will head Infiniti in its efforts to establish the luxury brand in the global premium market.

Since Johan de Nysschen left Infiniti in July to lead General Motors’ Cadillac division, Nissan had been looking for a new Infiniti chief. Earlier this month, the brand had to deal with another departure, as Infiniti’s chairman, Andy Palmer, who was also Nissan’s senior executive, left the automaker to head Aston Martin.

Nissan has not set the starting date yet for Krueger, 48, who has most recently worked as senior vice president at the BMW Group and led BMW’s Japan operations from 2008 to 2012. As Infiniti vehicles are going through a redesign process, Krueger’s focus will be to raise Infiniti’s global profile and sales in order for the automaker to compete with brands like BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi.

Up until March, Infiniti sold 180,000 vehicles around the world, representing about a tenth of Audi’s sales.

According to the carmaker, Krueger will work from Hong Kong at Infiniti’s headquarters and will report to Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn. Krueger started his career as an interiors and exteriors designer at Mitsubishi Motors Corp in Europe, moving on to Daimler’s Smart brand and then joining BMW in 1998.

By Gabriela Florea