Aston Martin appoints Mercedes-AMG chief Tobias Moers as CEO

Mr Moers replaces Andy Palmer who is leaving the firm after its shares plunged nearly 94% since going public in 2018

Tobias Moers, chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz AMG, speaks during AutoMobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. AutoMobility LA brings automakers, tech companies, designers, developers, startups, investors, dealers, government officials and analysts together to unveil the future of transportation with over 50 vehicle debuts. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Aston Martin appointed Tobias Moers, who heads the AMG performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, as its new chief executive on Tuesday after the company's share price plunged nearly 94 per cent since going public in 2018.

Mr Moers replaces Andy Palmer, the Nissan veteran who has headed the luxury car maker made famous by James Bond movies since 2014.

Mr Moers, 54, will be appointed to the board of the company as an executive director and will be based at the car maker's headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire as of August 1, 2020, Aston Martin said in a regulatory filing to the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

The company appointed Keith Stanton, currently vice president and chief manufacturing operations officer, as interim chief operating officer to support the executive chairman, Lawrence Stroll.

"The board has determined that now is the time for new leadership to deliver our plans," Mr Stroll said, adding that Mr Moers is "the right leader for Aston Martin Lagonda".

"Our ambition for the company is significant, clear and only matched by our determination to succeed," he said.

Mr Palmer's forthcoming replacement was leaked to the Financial Times before he became aware of the management shake-up. He confirmed his departure to The National on Monday and said he has no immediate plans.

Mr Palmer joined Aston Martin in 2014, from Japan's Nissan where he was the No 3 executive and worked alongside Carlos Ghosn, who was ousted from the company in 2019 for alleged financial misconduct.

Mr Palmer's mission was to revive Aston Martin, which has been insolvent seven times in its 107 years in existence and turn the company around as part of a seven-year plan that diversifies car models and scale up the business worldwide.

In his nearly six years at the company Mr Palmer renewed the Aston Martin’s core sports car range, with the DB11, Vantage and DBS Superleggera. The former chief executive, who oversaw the Nissan Patrol that is widely popular across Arab markets, also spearheaded Aston Martin's first 4x4 DBX.

However, as the car manufacturer went public on the London Stock Exchange in 2018, its share price did not immediately perform well and has plunged nearly 94 per cent since its listing due to oversupply to dealerships and a slowdown in luxury spending.

Aston Martin reported a £119 million (Dh532m / $145m) loss in the first three months of 2020, in part because factories and dealers closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 and the resulting global economic shutdown "had a material impact" on the company's performance in the first three months of the year, Mr Palmer said in a regulatory filing announcing the results.

Mr Moers, who takes the helm of the company in August, has spent more than 25 years in senior roles at the German-based global automotive. He has headed Mercedes-AMG since October 2013 and more than doubled its product portfolio and quadrupled the number of AMG units sold.

In its first quarter disclosure Aston Martin said it can't give a clear view on the full-year outlook due to "the uncertainty surrounding the duration and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy". The company said it assumes trading will remain challenging and it will implement measures to take further actions on operating costs and focus on conserving cash.

The US accounts for 30 per cent of Aston Martin’s total sales, followed by the UK. Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, which includes China, are closely behind in third and fourth place, respectively. The Middle East accounts for 10 per cent of the company’s sales.

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