The board of Aston Martin Lagonda has confirmed that Dr Andy Palmer will step down as its president and chief executive, with Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers set to become CEO.
Canadian businessman and Formula One team boss Lawrence Stroll, who replaced Penny Hughes as executive chairman at Aston Martin earlier this month, said “the board has determined that now is the time for new leadership to deliver our plans” in an official statement announcing the move today (May 26).
The Financial Times (FT) published exclusive news of the changes at Aston Martin yesterday (May 25), but Palmer said he had not been informed of the coming announcement and declined to comment further when contacted by the publication.
Commenting on the departure of Palmer in today's official statement, Stroll said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Andy for his hard work, personal commitment and dedication to Aston Martin Lagonda since 2014.
“In that time the company has successfully renewed its core sports car range, with the DB11, Vantage and DBS Superleggera and has brought the brand’s first SUV, DBX to a point of readiness for deliveries to start in the summer.
“Furthermore, the development of the era-defining Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar has paved the way for the mid-engined range to come.
“I would also like to recognise his leadership through the current challenges and uncertainties presented by COVID-19.”
In Aston Martin’s official statement, Palmer said: “It has been a privilege to serve Aston Martin Lagonda for almost six years. The launch of many new products including the new DBX demonstrates the dedication and capability of our employees.
“I would like to thank my management team and all the staff for their hard work and support, particularly during the challenges presented by COVID-19. I am proud of you all and it’s been an honour to work with you.”
Palmer joined Aston Martin as chief executive in 2014 from Nissan and oversaw a revival at the company that was close to bankruptcy.
In the two years since its initial public offering in 2018 the business has suffered financially, however, with its share prices falling by more than 90%.
The group recorded a £120m loss in the first three months of this year, with turnover declining by 60% to £78.6m.
Hopes were pinned on the success of the brand’s debut SUV, the DBX, which is now being built in a purpose-built production facility in St Athan, South Wales.
But Moers – who will join the business on August 1 – will now be the man charged with leading Aston Martin out of the COVID-19 crisis and ensuring that the DBX lives up to claims that it could double the brand’s global sales volumes.
Moers has spent more than 25 years of his automotive career at Daimler AG and has been chairman of the management board and chief executive of the Mercedes-AMG GmbH performance brand since October 2013.
Aston Martin said that Mercedes-AMG had more than doubled its product portfolio and quadrupled the number of AMG units sold under his leadership, with a clear pipeline of further expansion opportunities, especially in electrification of powertrains in the performance segment.
Welcoming Moers to the business this week, Stroll said: “I am delighted to welcome Tobias to Aston Martin Lagonda.
“He is the right leader for Aston Martin Lagonda as we implement our strategy for the business to achieve its full potential.
“Our ambition for the company is significant, clear and only matched by our determination to succeed.”
Moers said: “I am truly excited to be joining Aston Martin Lagonda at this point of its development.
“I have always had a passion for performance cars and relish the chance to work for this iconic brand which I was close to on the technical side at the beginning of the partnership between the two companies.
“Following the arrival of Lawrence, as executive chairman, the significant investment from his Yew Tree Consortium, the completion of the equity raise and the reset, I believe that there is a significant opportunity to harness the strengths of the business to successfully deliver the planned product expansion and brand elevation.
“I am looking forward to working with Lawrence and the whole Aston Martin team to build a stronger business for our customers, our employees, our partners and our shareholders.”