Currently reading: Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers to leave British firm - official
Ferrari duo to replace Moers; Amedeo Felisa takes on CEO role, Roberto Fedeli to join as CTO

Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers will stand down from his leadership and board roles with the firm with immediate effect, the Gaydon-based company has confirmed.

However, he will remain in an unspecified role with the company until the end of July, helping to ease the handover to his successors, ex-Ferrari duo Amedeo Felisa, who takes the role of CEO and executive director immediately, and Roberto Fedeli, who will act as chief technical officer when he joins in June.

Moers leaves having been in the role for just under two years, after replacing Andy Palmer in May 2020, following a change in the company’s ownership structure led by billionaire chairman Lawrence Stroll.

Although the statement terminating Moers’s time at the helm of the iconic British sports car and SUV maker paints his departure as being by “mutual agreement”, his position has been the subject of speculation for some time, with rumours of a potential split fuelled by ongoing mediocre financial results and numerous departures of high-profile, well-respected and often long-term employees at the company.

Potentially alluding to this the Aston Martin statement today refers to the leadership changes being made to “drive further and faster innovation and instil greater cohesion and effectiveness across the company.”

Autocar first reported Moers’s role at the firm to be under threat in January, with Bloomberg then revealing that the firm had been in discussion with potential replacements, including Ford’s Steven Armstrong. At the time Stroll vociferously and repeatedly denied the reports, responding to Autocar’s story by saying: "I have no idea where that comes from. Tobias is doing a great job. He's staying here. He's the perfect partner for me."

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However, his fate has now been sealed, with Aston Martin’s official statement reporting: “The Board is grateful for all that Tobias has contributed during his time at Aston Martin, setting the company in the right direction, building new foundations and improving its operations.”

Stroll is directly quoted in the statement as saying: “Firstly, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation for all that Tobias has achieved. He joined Aston Martin at a critical time for the company and brought significant discipline to its operations. The benefit of these actions is clear in the improved operating performance of the company and in our great new product launches. 

“Now, there is a need for the business to enter a new phase of growth with a new leadership team and structure to ensure we deliver on our goals. Our new organisational framework will support the company to its full potential, foster greater collaboration and a more cohesive way of working, both internally and externally.”

Despite Stroll’s upbeat assessment of Moers’s tenure, its financial figures continue to concern analysts, who highlight its debt burden and marginal profitability. Its share price continues to run at a fraction of its launch value and close to its historic low. In its first quarter financial figures released this morning it revealed it is on track to sell more than 6600 cars this year, with a medium-term target to take that figure to 10,000. The report stated that its sports car production for 2022 was already sold out, and that Aston Martin DBX SUV orders are up 60% year-on-year.

Felisa and Fedeli both take up their roles at Aston Martin having worked most recently as an advisor and chief technical officer respectively at the Chinese-US electric car start-up FAW-Silk. Felisa has also been a non-executive director at Aston Martin for the past year.

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They previously worked together at Ferrari, from where Felisa, 76, retired as CEO in 2016, albeit continuing to sit on the Italian firm’s board of directors and act as an advisor, and Fedeli left the role of chief technical officer in 2014, after 26 years with the firm. He subsequently worked at BMW, Alfa Romeo and Maserati prior to joining FAW-Silk in 2021.

Most significantly, both Felisa and Fedeli are close allies of former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo, a close business associate of Stroll, who sponsored the Italian Formula 1 team through his Tommy Hilfiger and Asprey brands when the Italian headed up the team, and then consulted him as an advisor on his initial takeover of Aston Martin.

It is unclear if Felisa’s tenure will be long-term given his age, although Stroll described him as "young at heart" and likely tobe at the firm for the "forseeable future". Stroll also suggested Felisa and Fedeli would play pivotal roles in preparing Aston Martin for the switch to electrification. 

“Amedeo has extensive knowledge of both Aston Martin’s business and the wider automotive industry with an excellent track record and previous experience of leading a major ultra-luxury car manufacturer,” said Stroll. “His technical acumen and charisma will be inspirational for the entire company.

“With the appointment of Roberto, we add another world class name to our team. He will help us deliver our future strategy, with a particular focus on technology advancements, and our in-house engineering capabilities, as we move toward electrification. Roberto is a proven innovator and team builder. He conceived some of the world’s most desirable performance sports cars. His extensive experience of this sector, coupled with his leadership style, will contribute significantly to shape our exciting future product portfolio and reinvigorate our technical team.

“We believe these changes will bring significant long-term benefits to everyone who is involved with Aston Martin.”

Felisa added:  “Over the past year, through my work as a non-executive director and chairman of the Product Strategy Committee, I have come to know Aston Martin and its senior leadership team very well. I know there is an impressive pool of talent inside the company, as well as an extraordinary technological ecosystem in the UK made up of innovators, universities, automotive and racing specialists with whom we want to deepen our relationships.

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“We have a clear objective to continue the transformation of Aston Martin into an ultra-luxury, high-performance brand and become a leader in our sector. We have a tremendous opportunity to shape and enhance the uniqueness of Aston Martin’s future products, and to further grow our appeal with new customers by harnessing the introduction of new technologies, electrification, connectivity and innovative materials.”

Moers departs Aston Martin having taken over from Andy Palmer as CEO, moving from Mercedes-AMG in August 2020. He swiftly implemented a new strategy, including - ironically given the cited reasons for his replacement - putting plans for a family of Lagonda electric cars on ice, as well as axing development of the firm’s own V6. During his tenure the firm struggled to see the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar project through to completion, with the car’s technical complexity blamed. Customer deliveries have now begun, however.

High-profile departures during Moers's time have included chief special operations officer David King, chief executive for vehicle attributes Matt Becker, director of Q operations Simon Lane, global president of UK and South Africa Phil Eaglesfield, general manager Carl Elston, supply chain director Kris Elston, new model quality director Stuart Jeff, head of product strategy and planning Mark Wallace and chief marketing officer Peter Freedman.

There is no news on what Moers will do following his departure from Aston Martin this summer.

Additional reporting by Dieter Rencken.

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Anthony Francis 5 May 2022

I think that the sober and mature Felisa, who has been responsible for some GREAT cars in the past, is a welcome addition. Both he and Fedeli also have something if a working past and familiarity with Stroll, which one should hope means that they would be less likely to upset the applecart the way Moers did for no good reason.  Let's hope they resurrect that clever in-house Aston V-6 hybrid turbo that Moers scrapped early on.

Lessis More 5 May 2022

It's all about the design, exterior & interior.  Astons need to be beautiful, elegant, comfortable.  Not trashy & tacky.  Reichman must go.  And Stroll trying to emulate Ferrari is doomed to failure.

manicm 4 May 2022
He'll be one of if not the oldest automotive CEO ever. It just doesn't make sense whatsoever. My gut tells me those at the bottom of the pile, or the unions, staged a coup de ta'at to kick Moers out. Face it, do you want to live with 10 year old infotainment with no Carplay or Android Auto?
Symanski 4 May 2022

Agreed with the age of the CEO.   I can only see him as being a short term caretaker.   I thought Walter Hayes was old when he was CEO of Aston!

 

Apparently the new deal they have with Mercedes allows them access to all the latest infotainment.   So that's not the problem.   I don't think the unions or workers are staging a revolt, not in that sense but who knows?

 

Stroll might now be trying to pack Aston up for sale to the VAG group now that Audi / Porsche have shown interest in F1.   Stroll needs an exit at some point and having Mercedes Man around could be a problem.   But that really is pure speculation.

 

One thing is strange is the comment that sports car production is full for the year ahead.   With sales of the DBX up 60% in the report, that's 3,000+60% = 4,800.   Production peaking at 6,600 means they've only got capacity to do 1,800 sports cars?   That seems odd.   They complained they had too much production capacity before so maybe Moers has cut it back that badly they now can't operate?

 

But I suspect there's a lot of fudging in the numbers.   That "sales" of DBX aren't that great as most of what got produced since launch was from pre-sales.   True sales for the period being exceptionally low.   Even suspect the DBX707 hasn't been the hit they hoped, but some of the new styling whilst being improved some of it also looks like they employed Kahn, which isn't good either.

 

I just hope they sack Reichman before they run out of time.   They need to find a competent designer. Even at this stage I'd wonder if Kahn is a better option?   No, both would be terrible, but Ferrari are knocking it out the park at the moment with the Roma and Aston is lost.

 

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