Paul Willcox, who has been with Nissan for 21 years, has left the company’s European division amid speculation that he could be heading for Volkswagen’s UK operations.

Willcox, 49, has been head of sales and marketing for Nissan Europe for two years. He was previously head of Nissan UK.

Volkswagen UK’s boss Simon Thomas, another Nissan veteran, was earlier this month promoted to head of global marketing for the VW Group and its namesake brand.

Nissan announced on Friday that Willcox will be replaced by Guillaume Cartier, adding that Willcox "has decided to leave the company to pursue other professional opportunities".

Cartier, who takes up his new post on 1 September, is currently vice president of sales for Nissan Europe which has its headquarters in Rolle, Switzerland.