Nissan’s Top Marketer Exits

DETROIT Nissan svp, sales and marketing Mark McNabb is leaving Nissan effective April 1, the company said this week.

McNabb cited “personal reasons” for his departure. He will be succeeded by Brian Carolin, currently svp, sales and marketing for Nissan Europe.

“We regret but respect Mark’s decision to leave the company and thank him for his contributions over the previous 20 years to Nissan’s success in North America,” Hiroto Saikawa, evp of purchasing and chairman of Nissan’s management committee for the Americas, said in a statement. “I have enjoyed a long working relationship with Brian Carolin and have every confidence that he will provide strong leadership and a smooth transition over the coming months.”

TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., an Omnicom Group agency, is the lead creative shop on the client’s account. Nissan spent slightly less than $800 million last year in U.S. media to promote its cars and trucks, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. OMD handles media.

McNabb, 46, spent 19 years at Nissan, from 1986 to 2005. He left Nissan in November 2005, also for “personal reasons,” and took a marketing job at Mercedes-Benz North America in early 2006. McNabb returned to Nissan in April to oversee global operations for Nissan’s luxury Infiniti brand, and then moved to his present post in June.

Nissan has performed steadily in the past several years, despite losing a number of key employees last year when it moved its headquarters from the Los Angeles area to Nashville, Tenn.

Former Nissan marketing chief Jan Thompson left the company in September, and in December, she joined Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services.

Nissan’s sales last year increased 4.8 percent, per Autodata, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.