As part of its goal of supplanting Toyota as Europe's top-selling Japanese brand, Nissan has named Paul Willcox as its new European sales and marketing chief.
Willcox is currently head of Nissan's UK national sales company and replaces Simon Thomas, who is leaving the carmaker after 20 years to pursue a career outside Nissan. Willcox starts his new role on July 1.
Colin Dodge, head of Nissan's Africa, Middle East, India and European region, said the appointment of Willcox came as Nissan is "making strong progress with our ambition to be the No. 1 Japanese brand in the region."
Willcox "will ensure that the Europe team stays focused on aggressively pursuing further growth," Dodge added in a statement.
In the first five months Nissan's new-car sales in EU and EFTA countries rose 21.7 percent to 206,314, compared with a year earlier, according the ACEA, the European automakers association. Toyota group sales, including Lexus, fell 4 percent to 256,935 in the same period. Toyota brand sales were 245,254, down 5.4 percent. Lexus sold 11,681 units, up 37.1 percent.
Willcox joined Nissan in 1992 after starting his career at Peugeot in the UK. In 2008, he was appointed managing director of Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, after which Nissan secured its position as the No. 1 Japanese brand in the UK with more than 100,000 unit sales in 2010.
He will initially work between the UK and Nissan's European headquarters in Rolle, Switzerland, before transferring to Switzerland permanently on August 1.
Nissan said it will name a new head for its UK sales company in due course.