Nissan recruits Hyundai Europe COO Rushforth as global sales chief

Nissan recruits Hyundai Europe COO Rushforth as global sales chief

Nissan has tapped Hyundai Europe’s chief operating officer, Allan Rushforth, to be its new global sales chief.

Rushforth, 55, will be corporate vice president for worldwide sales and report to Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein. Klein was appointed in September to take over for Andy Palmer, who left Nissan to become CEO at Aston Martin. While Palmer directly oversaw global sales as part of is portfolio, Klein is handing that responsibility to Rushforth.

Rushforth will work out of Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, moving from Frankfurt, Germany, where he was a senior vice president of Hyundai’s European operations, as well as chief operating officer.

Nissan said Rushforth’s start date has not been determined. “Allan’s past professional experience includes running sales operations in international markets and working across cultural boundaries,” Klein said in a statement. “Nissan is a company that values cultural diversity and Allan shares this and has demonstrated the ability to lead multicultural teams.”

Rushforth, an Englishman, started his automotive career in the U.K. in 1983, working in fleet sales with the Rover Group. Following BMW’s purchase of Rover in 1996, Rushforth was assigned to South Korea as executive director with responsibility for launching the Land Rover brand.

He later joined the Volkswagen Group to lead Audi retail operations in Britain. He left VW in 2007 to join Hyundai.

Hyundai brand has lost two top executives in Europe in recent months. Marketing boss Mark Hall left the company in June for personal reasons. Rushforth took over Hall’s responsibilities on an interim basis.

Rushforth will leave the company with effect October 21, Hyundai Europe said in a statement. It said its has already started the process to select a successor and in the interim Rushforth’s responsibilities are being handled by the senior management team.

Sales of Hyundai vehicles in the European Union fell 1 percent to 271,510 in the first eight months, according to industry association ACEA, giving the brand a 3.3 percent market share.