Tesla hires Renault-Nissan chief spokesman Sproule in global push

Simon Sproule, 45, spent more than 20 years at Nissan and Ford as well as a stint at Microsoft.

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., preparing to sell electric cars to China as it fights car dealers in the U.S., is hiring a veteran of Carlos Ghosn’s Renault SA-Nissan Motor Co. alliance to manage its marketing and message.

Simon Sproule, 45, director of communications for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said he’ll become vice president of communications and marketing for the company in April.

The move takes Sproule from the world’s biggest seller of battery-powered cars to Elon Musk’s Tesla, which seeks that title with increased sales of Model S sedans and planned additions to its all-electric lineup.

Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokeswoman, also confirmed the hiring and declined to elaborate.

The addition of Sproule, who has spent more than 20 years at Nissan, Ford Motor Co. and its former Jaguar brand, as well as a stint at Microsoft Corp., coincides with Musk’s push to move Tesla from startup status to a competitive global automaker. Sproule’s past posts in the U.K., U.S., Japan and France as well as his knowledge of the global auto industry may benefit the youngest publicly traded U.S. carmaker.

Tesla, with the best-performing international automotive stock in at least the past 20 years, was dealt a blow Tuesday when New Jersey moved to block its direct-sales model in that state. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, with members appointed by Gov. Chris Christie, voted unanimously to bar any form of direct automotive sales in the Garden State.

Tesla hasn’t yet said how it will respond.

Sproule was named an Automotive News All-Star last year. 

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