EGHAM, UK: Nick Sharples has quit his role as Sony Europe comms chief to join Belron International, the vehicle glass repair giant that owns the UK’s Autoglass.

Sharples is charged with establishing a global communications function at Belron, following the company’s rapid global growth over the past five years.

He leaves Sony after almost a decade, including more than six years heading corporate comms for Sony Playstation Europe. For the last three years, Sharples was director of communications for Sony Europe. Before joining Sony, Sharples spent several years with the British Army, including a PR role at the Ministry of Defence.

“This was a global role which was presented, to set up a global communications function,” Sharples told the Holmes Report. “The opportunity seemed too good to miss.”

Sharples noted that Belron is expanding into such markets as China, Brazil and Mexico. “They have been growing rapidly over the last five years, but communications tends to be one of the latter functions to be put in place,” he pointed out. “They now realise that communications can complement marketing activity.”

Belron trades under numerous brands worldwide, including Autoglass (UK), Safelite (US) and Carglass (Continental Europe). The company turned over 2.8bn euros in 2010, and employs almost 25,000 people around the world.

Last year, Autoglass selected Lewis PR as its new agency-of-record in the UK. Sharples said no decision had yet been made about appointing a central agency for Belron. “Whether we have one centrally is something to be decided.”

Sony Europe is understood to be searching for Sharples’ successor. In the interim, corporate comms will be headed by Sylvia Shin, while Daichi Yamafuji will oversee consumer.