Former Nissan marcomms leader Sproule moves to Tesla

Electric car-maker Tesla has bolstered its communications team by hiring automotive and technology PR veteran Simon Sproule. He will start in the role next month.

 

PALO ALTO, CA: Electric car-maker Tesla will bring on Simon Sproule, former CVP of global marketing communications at Nissan Motor Company and director of marketing communications for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, next month.

Sproule will join the company in April as VP of communications and marketing, according to reports.

Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, director of global communications at Tesla, confirmed that Sproule is joining the company but did not disclose further information on the role.

He rejoined Nissan in 2009 to take the top communications position at the Renault-Nissan Alliance after a short time as corporate VP of corporate communications at Microsoft. Sproule’s role was expanded to lead marcomms for the Renault-Nissan Alliance last March. He previously worked at Nissan from 2003 to 2009.

David Reuter, VP of corporate communications at Nissan Americas, said in a statement that Sproule had resigned.

"On behalf of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we thank him for his service," he added. "As a matter of policy, we do not provide additional details regarding personnel matters."

Sproule was not immediately available for comment.

Tesla has been without a senior communications leader since the departure of former global comms VP Ricardo Reyes in 2012. Reyes left to serve as VP of communications and brand marketing at startup Square.

Sproule is joining Tesla at a challenging time for the company as it fights legislation around the country banning it from selling vehicles directly to customers. This week, New Jersey prohibited car companies from using a direct-sales model. Texas and Arizona have also banned car manufacturers from selling straight to customers.

In response to the ban, Tesla posted a company blog criticizing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration and saying the decision "is an affront to the very concept of a free market."

Last September, Sproule gave the opening keynote at the PRWeek Conference, focusing on the importance and inevitability of integrating communications and marketing efforts.  He said integrated communications presents an opportunity for the PR profession, which in many cases is still fighting for a role in the C-suite. Chief executives, he added, are key drivers of integration within companies.

This story was updated on March 13 at 2:30 pm EST with comment from Tesla.

Here's a video interview with Sproule from last year's PRWeek Conference.

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