PALO ALTO—Simon Sproule is departing Nissan to become VP of communications and marketing at Tesla.

The move sees Sproule leave Nissan after more than a decade with the Japanese carmaker, broken only by a two-month stint at Microsoft. Most recently, Sproule was corporate VP of marketing communications for Nissan and its alliance with Renault.

Sproule confirmed the move, noting that he would soon relocate from Yokohama to the Bay Area. The combined comms and marketing leadership role is effectively a new one, although Tesla has had comms leads in the past.

Sproule's experience at Nissan, the world's biggest producer of battery-powered vehicles, is likely to prove critical at Tesla, given the PR issues that the company has faced in recent months. 

In a recent interview with the Holmes Report at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sproule noted that technology has proved instrumental in helping the automotive industry rebuild a battered reputation.

Sproule previously worked as Renault-Nissan global communications director in 2009 in Paris, before relocating to Japan to lead Nissan's merged marketing and communications department in 2010. At Nissan, Sproule is credited with building a strong corporate content offering.