Cadillaccts Vreveal

Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen presented the new CTS-V sedan in Detroit in January. The Motley Fool talked with de Nysschen about his ongoing efforts to transform GM's old luxury brand into a global contender. Source: General Motors.

It's no secret that General Motors (NYSE:GM) is breaking a lot of its long-standing rules with its Cadillac luxury brand. 

An independent marketing team completely separate from GM's mainstream brands? Check. A slew of new models, fast-tracked? Yes. An independent headquarters in New York? Yes, that too.

None of these things were even imaginable to those who knew GM well as recently as a few years ago. But we're seeing them all come to pass now, more proof -- as if we needed it -- that post-bankruptcy GM is a very different company, with very different management.

One of those new managers is Executive Vice President Johan de Nysschen, who also carries the title "President of Cadillac." De Nysschen was recruited last year from Nissan, where he was running the company's Infiniti luxury brand, to lead a big-bucks push intended to make Cadillac a no-excuses global luxury brand.

Before he joined Nissan, de Nysschen spent years at Volkswagen's Audi brand, where he had a close-up view of (and a key role in) its ascent to top-drawer global status. GM President Dan Ammann knew that de Nysschen was the man to run Cadillac, but recruiting him took some heavy discussion: While de Nysschen was eager for the job, he was insistent that he would only take it if it could actually be done -- that is, if GM would give him the freedom to operate Cadillac as he thought it needed to be operated. In other words, he would only do it if GM was willing to break a lot of its rules.

Clearly, they came to agreement: De Nysschen has the job, and the transformation of Cadillac is now under way. We spent a few minutes talking to de Nysschen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where we asked him about the rule-breaking needed to return Cadillac to global glory. You can hear his answer in this video, shot right on Cadillac's show stand. Take a look, and then scroll down to leave a comment with your thoughts.

John Rosevear owns shares of General Motors. Rex Moore has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors. 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.