Aston Martin has confirmed that current Mercedes-AMG chief Tobias Moers will replace Andy Palmer as the embattled firm’s chief executive officer.
Palmer, 56, has led the British firm since 2014, serving as both president and chief executive officer. He will step down from his duties immediately. Moers, 55, will start as chief executive officer on 1 August and will also serve on the firm’s board as an executive director.
The switch was first reported by the Financial Times over the weekend. Since it was announced this morning, Aston Martin Lagonda Limited's share price has risen by around 30%, from 35p to around 50p.
Keith Stanton, currently Aston Martin's vice-president and manufacturing chief, will lead the company on an interim basis until Moers’ arrival. Philipp Schiemer will switch from running Mercedes-Benz's Brazilian division to become the new head of Mercedes-AMG.
Aston Martin has posted heavy losses recently, with the firm's share price falling sharply. The move comes shortly after billionaire Lawrence Stroll led a major investment into the firm and took over as chairman. Stroll said the Aston Martin board “has determined that now is the time for new leadership to deliver our plans”. He added that Moers is “the right leader for Aston Martin as we implement our strategy for the business to achieve its full potential”.
The German has worked at Daimler for more than 25 years and switched to the Mercedes-AMG performance division in 1994. He became the firm’s head of vehicle development in 2002 and took over the top role late in 2013.
Moers has since led a major expansion of Mercedes-AMG, doubling its model range and hugely increasing sales. The Affalterbach firm sold 132,000 cars last year, compared to around 70,000 in 2015.
Stroll said that Moers' experience of growing Mercedes-AMG would be crucial to reviving Aston Martin’s fortunes: “He is an exceptionally talented automotive professional and a proven business leader with a strong track record during his many years at Daimler, with whom we have a longstanding and successful technical and commercial partnership, which we look forward to continuing. Throughout his career, he has delivered product expansion, strengthened brand positioning and improved profitability.”
Moers said that he is “truly excited to be joining Aston Martin Lagonda at this point in its development”. He added: “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.”
Palmer joined Aston Martin after serving in senior management roles at Nissan and has been credited for helping the firm grow by attracting new investment, expanding its model range and cutting costs. His strategy included the ambitious ‘Second Century Plan’, which involved massively expanding the Aston Martin range. That includes the new DBX, the firm’s first SUV, with Palmer also leading the approval for the new St Athan factory in Wales where it will be built.
However, Palmer also helped push through the decision to float Aston Martin Lagonda on the London Stock Exchange in 2018. A series of setbacks since then, including a £119 million loss in the first three months of this year, led to the firm’s share price falling more than 90% from its initial value. That also prompted the firm to heavily revamp its product plan, including delaying the relaunch of Lagonda as a luxury electric car brand.
Stroll added: “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.