Nissan restructures European comms team with new hires and wider remit

Nissan has announced a restructure of its pan-European comms team, with several senior appointments and promotions alongside the transfer of corporate responsibility to the comms division.

Europe comms chief Stuart Jackson: Focus on 'storytelling and engagement'
Europe comms chief Stuart Jackson: Focus on 'storytelling and engagement'

The car maker, which earlier this week denied charges from the Korean government of falsifying emissions reports, appointed Stuart Jackson as VP of comms for Nissan Europe in October.

Further changes have now been made by Jackson, with 30 per cent of the Nissan Europe comms leadership team changing.

Mia Nielsen, formerly a reporter for Dow Jones and CNBC in Japan and more recently GM of external comms for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, has been appointed GM of internal comms and culture in the central team, reporting to Jackson. The role had been vacant for some time.

Oliver Franz – ex-comms chief at Honda Germany and a former journalist at German media outlets including BILD, ARD and SAT 1 – becomes Nissan Germany comms director, overseeing Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Reporting to both Jackson and Nissan Germany MD Thomas Hausch, Franz replaces veteran Michael Bierduempfl, who will retire but retain a special adviser role for Nissan Germany.

In addition, Katherine Zachary’s role as GM of corporate comms in the central comms team has been expanded to include corporate responsibility.

Steve McLennan, currently Nissan brand GM and the company's former UK marketing director, will join the central team as new GM of product comms. He replaces Tom Barnard, who is leaving to form a new automotive comms agency as part of the Hampshire-based Blackball Group.

Finally, Marina Maneas Bakkum, PR and comms manager for Nissan Nordic Europe, has been promoted to director of comms for Nissan Nordics, reporting to Jackson and Nissan Nordics MD Jordi Vila. She replaces Taina Erkkila, who is leaving the business.

Nissan Europe said the moves "signal a new focus on storytelling and brand engagement".

Last week, Nissan hosted its first Nissan Futures event, a new series that aims to encourage debate about major issues in society. The event focused on how electric vehicles can power homes, cities, hospitals and schools through new technology. It saw the launch of Nissan's xStorage system, which lets electric vehicle customers power their homes via their cars and sell energy back to the grid.

Jackson, formerly CEO of London agency Up Communications and before that comms director of phone companies EE and Orange, said: "Nissan Futures enables us to show how we're channelling our thirst for innovation to solve problems for future societies, our cities and their citizens.

"At Nissan, we have a compelling story to tell, and a strong team to tell it."

Following the changes, most of which come into effect this month, the European comms team will continue to have a centralised comms function, with nine regional comms directors and teams reporting into it.

Click here to read PRWeek's interview from March with Nissan's global chief comms officer Jonathan Adashek, who replaced Jeff Kuhlman in the role last year.

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