DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors (NYSE:GM) has picked its top Washington lobbyist to lead the Cadillac brand worldwide.

The company named Robert Ferguson on Tuesday to the new position of vice president of global Cadillac. Ferguson will report directly to CEO Dan Akerson. The change is effective Jan. 1.

Don Butler had been running Cadillac as U.S. vice president of marketing. The company says he will now report to Ferguson.

Ferguson, 53, joined GM in 2010 and served as vice president of public policy in Washington, D.C. Before that he was president of state legislative and regulatory affairs for communications firm Public Strategies. Prior to that, he ran the Enterprise Business Services unit at telecommunications company SBC, where he was in charge of sales and engineering, GM said in a statement.

Ferguson's lobbying duties will be assumed by Vice President of Communications Selim Bingol, who also will keep his current post in Detroit.

GM is trying to raise Cadillac sales both in the U.S. and globally by rolling out new products, with a special emphasis on China. In the past few months the company has introduced the new ATS small luxury car to compete with the BMW 3-Series, and the XTS, a new full-size luxury car. But through September, Cadillac's U.S. sales are down 8.6%.

The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend General Motors Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.