Nissan hires Sproule, integrates marketing and comms

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: Nissan Motor Co. said that Simon Sproule will join Nissan as VP of global marketing communications, as the company restructures to combine its marketing and communications functions.

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: Nissan Motor Co. said that Simon Sproule will join Nissan as VP of global marketing communications, as the company restructures to combine its marketing and communications functions. Renault, the French automaker that shares various manufacturing platforms with Nissan, also announced that it plans to combine the disciplines.

Effective October 1, Sproule will join Nissan's new marketing communications group, where he will oversee advertising, events, PR, and internal and external communications. From Nissan's headquarters in Japan, he will report to Andy Palmer, currently SVP for global planning and program management at Nissan. 

According to Marketing Magazine, Renault created a CMO and CCO role to be led by Stephen Norman, a former SVP for global marketing at the company. Sproule said Renault will announce additional news related to its reorganization at a later date. 

Sproule, currently global director of communications for the 11-year-old Renault-Nissan Alliance, said the integration of Renault and Nissan's global marketing and communications functions will develop more consistent promotional programs.

The reorganization will create a marketing communications group for each individual company. It will not have an affect on the structure of the alliance, he confirmed. Sproule's group will join that of Palmer, who runs "upstream functions" such as product planning, market research, and strategy. While the move won't affect the regional corporate structure, like that in the US, it'll impact the relationship the markets have with headquarters.

"Because we're part of this group with product planning and market research, there's deeper integration into the upstream activities of the company," said Sproule. "It'll be a much more seamless flow inside the company as we develop and bring the product to market. In the end, it's about driving global brand consistency."

Prior to joining Microsoft as VP of corporate communications in March 2009, Sproule worked as corporate VP of global communications at Nissan for nearly five years. He left Microsoft in July 2009 to take on the Renault-Nissan Alliance role in France.

He added that the Alliance has not yet found a replacement for his role. 

Omnicom's Zocalo Group currently handles Nissan's PR in the US.

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