Simon Thomas, who was Nissan's European sales and marketing boss during the automaker's recent revival in the region, has been appointed managing director of Volkswagen Group UK, effective September 1.
Thomas will succeed Robin Woolcock, 63, VW's UK boss since 2000. Woolcock moves to a new assignment within the VW Group.
VW is the UK's third most popular brand after Ford and Vauxhall with a market share of 9.3 percent. The brand's unit sales fell to 107,971 in the first seven months, down from 108,644 the year before, according to the SMMT industry association.
Thomas, 51, joined Nissan UK in 1991 from the Austin Rover Group, moving up to became Nissan UK's marketing director in 2000. After a stint as head of sales and marketing for Nissan and Infiniti in Canada, Thomas was named vice president of sales at Nissan Europe in 2007.
He became Nissan Europe's senior vice president of sales and marketing in 2009 and was in charge of vehicle sales, vehicle distribution and network development in 30 countries.
In the past four years, Nissan's European market share has risen to 2.9 percent from 1.9 percent. New-car sales grew to 403,311 last year from 311,794 in 2007, according to industry association ACEA.
Thomas began his automotive career as an apprentice technician in 1976 at a Ford dealership.