Simon Sproule
Corporate VP, Global Marketing Comms
Nissan Motor Company
Yokohama, Japan.

Simon Sproule has built a reputation as one of the the automotive sector’s smartest PR practitioners, and has recently added marketing responsibilities after Nissan merged its PR and marketing departments in 2010. Sproule has been associated with Nissan since joining the company in 2003, broken only by a two-month stint as Microsoft’s global communications director. At Nissan, his new role includes a particular focus on ‘brand journalism’.

Enjoy most
The variety and unpredictability of the work. Plus the ability to combine three personal passions: media, cars and travel.

Biggest frustration
At the same time as the value and relevance of PR has grown, so have the unscrupulous practices and the deadly rise of ‘spin’. Increasing PR budgets have attracted bottom-feeders into our industry.

Career highlight
The ability to learn from leading global executives like Carlos Ghosn. A career in communications puts you very close to the people that are driving the business. On a personal level, the ability to live and work around the world has been an incredible benefit of my career choices.

Best advice
Do what you love. Getting up on a Monday morning is so much easier.

Biggest career break
Each move leads to another, so could argue it was getting that first job after graduation! In terms of the biggest challenge, it was being appointed head of global communications at Nissan in 2004 and moving to Japan.

Biggest career mistake
Not pushing hard enough at various points in my career to get PR and Marketing to work closer together.

Most important mentor
The PR management team at Ford in the early 90s when I first started in the business and my successive bosses at Jaguar and Nissan as my career developed. I have been incredibly lucky for the freedom to learn and develop my career through experience, experimentation and delegation.

My wife and daughter. Any journalist putting their own life at risk in the pursuit of a story.

Biggest change you’ve seen?
Without doubt the convergence with marketing and the opportunities that brings. The media environment, especially online, forced the change, but objectively it is the natural evolution of more effective storytelling.

Favourite campaign
Dove Real Beauty

Favourite traditional media
A large stack of car magazines and a 12-hour flight. All the British Sunday newspapers and that same 12-hour flight.

Favourite media
For work: Autoblog and Autocar for news, Autoextremist and Automotive News for opinion and Sniff Petrol for amusement. Outside of business, I rely on Huffington Post and BBC Online. I also listen to a lot of podcasts on my commute.

Twitter or Facebook

Favourite city for business travel
New York


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