Japanese motor manufacturer Nissan has appointed a new UK corporate affairs director.
Andrew Horne takes up the role after the switch of Stewart McKee to Nissan's new European HQ in Paris, to take up a newly-created position as head of European corporate communications (PRWeek, 29 September).
Horne arrives from Northern Electric, where he was corporate affairs manager for five years. He will head a team of four in the UK office, near Watford, and report to McKee in Paris.
'I worked in the water and electric sectors soon after their privatisation. Each has under gone major restructuring issues and it is this experience that I am looking forward to bringing to Nissan,' said Horne.
'The UK is the most significant market and we are using its communications set up as a standard for our operations on the continent,' said McKee, who was at the UK helm for five years.
He now heads a team of 22 in Paris. 'There is a strategy to centralise the European communications operations. It was previously a smaller team of six. But there are some drastic changes happening and communications are seen as integral to success,' said McKee.
The changes are part of a massive restructuring of communications strategy in Europe following Nissan's alliance with French firm Renault in March 1999. The Renault and Nissan brands remain in competition throughout the car market, as do their PR operations, said McKee.
He will appoint corporate PR managers in key European markets and oversee the hiring of external agencies in other regions.
Plans to appoint an overall European chief of communications are ongoing, according to McKee. The previous vice-president of communications for Nissan Europe, Daniel Ward, resigned after ten years with the company, following the relocation of its PR department from Amsterdam to Paris.
In September deputy general manager Akinari Okabe moved to Europe from the Tokyo HQ to take over Ward's role until a replacement is found. 'There is no announcement at the moment,' said McKee.