Audi of America gets all its vehicles from Germany, so the U.S. arm's contribution to the sales success of Audi AG depends in large part on how well it markets an increasingly renowned product line. Partially in recognition of how he helped make Audi one of the hottest brands in the U.S. luxury segment, Audi of America's CMO, Scott Keogh, became its new CEO this week.
The company announced Keogh's ascension within a few weeks of the news of the sudden departure of Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America's CEO for eight years. De Nysschen left suddenly for a position of global oversight of Infiniti, the Nissan-owned luxury brand, that is looking for more sales worldwide — and has targeted Audi customers for some of them.
At the same time, Keogh has had a less-recognized role in setting Audi's product strategy for the increasingly important U.S. market.
Keogh got the nod to replace De Nysschen because of how he has contributed to Audi's record growth in the U.S. market and to the ascension of the Audi brand overall. Keogh's boldest moves have included overseeing the highly successful launch of Audi's clean-diesel cars in the United States and helping establish the brand as an advocate for the green car technology.
He also engineered Audi's deeper reach into the top of the U.S. luxury segment by introducing new A6 and A8 sedans and the all-new A7. What's more, he was instrumental in re-introducing the venerable RS line of Audi performance models to the U.S., focusing on sport coupes, and in expanding its lineup of sport-performance S models in America.
The new Audi CEO also took the lead in putting the brand in Super Bowl advertising beginning in 2008, a gambit that Audi has followed in subsequent Super Bowls, where Keogh has highlighted important distinctives such as Audi's "daylight" LED headlights.
"Gains in the U.S. are truly a strategic pillar for the brand and we are confident that the leadership provided by Scott Keogh will continue the momentum at Audi of America," Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said in a statement.
Some Audi dealers have said it would be important for Audi to demonstrate continuity in leadership after De Nysschen's departure. Over the last few weeks, another key player in Audi of America's turnaround under De Nysschen, COO Mark Del Rosso, has been acting CEO of Audi of America.
Keogh comes into a leadership seat that is still warm for him. U.S. sales so far in 2012 have climbed by 15 percent for Audi.