TOKYO—Simon Sproule, corporate vice president, global marketing communications, at Nissan Motor Company and 20-year veteran of automotive public relations roles, will be one of four senior public relations industry executives to receive SABRE Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement at the Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards in Hong Kong later this month.

Sproule has built a reputation as one of the automotive sector’s smartest PR practitioners, and recently became one of a growing number of senior corporate communicators to add responsibility for the marketing function after Nissan merged its PR and marketing departments in 2010.

A year ago, he told The Holmes Report: “I really think what’s going to happen in the next five to 10 years is the emergence of a new profession, which is going to be an integrated communicationss function. You’re still going to have areas of specialization—you will have people who are marketing specialists or above-the-line or strong on digital—but I ultimately believe it will come into integration.”

His new role includes a particular emphasis on pioneering brand journalism and content creation, which he says “will continue to be important ways to connect with consumers and build trust and loyalty.”

Sproule has been associated with Nissan since joining the company in 2003, broken only by a two-month stint as Microsoft’s global communications director, where he was responsible for defining and managing Microsoft’s communications strategies worldwide, including planning and execution, public affairs, media relations, executive communications, employee communications, and global agency management.

For five years before that, Sproule served as the corporate vice president of global communications at Nissan, responsible for corporate communications, corporate social responsibility, product introductions, brand communications and internal communications, and integrated corporate social responsibility and brand communications roles..

Before joining Nissan, Sproule was with Ford Motor Co., where he held a variety of leadership positions, including vice president of communications for the Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover brands in North America.