Luxury car maker Aston Martin Lagonda confirmed on Tuesday that it had sacked chief executive Andy Palmer as part of a broader board review following a crash in its stock price and d ‘a drop in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Palmer’s replacement Tobias Moers will join Mercedes-AMG on August 1, where he is currently the head of the German automaker’s high-performance division.
Palmer has served as general manager of Aston Martin since 2014, and the company has confirmed his departure from reports released this weekend. Palmer left the company, James Bond’s favorite car brand, on Monday.
The company’s share price slumped 98% from £ 19 in October 2018 to just 35p Friday, giving it a market value of around £ 540 million, up from £ 4 billion. when it was floating.
Its shares jumped 40% to 50p Tuesday after the announcement of Palmer’s departure.
Neil Wilson, the chief market analyst at the Markets.com trading platform, said the investor reaction was “a pretty overwhelming condemnation of his tenure that stocks jumped as much after the announcement of his dismissal ”.
He added: “Aston Martin has been one of the worst lists of living memory actions. Things had already gotten horrible before this year; the coronavirus epidemic was the final blow. “
Lawrence Stroll, a billionaire who became executive chairman of Aston Martin after leading a £ 536 million bailout deal in March, said: “The board has determined that now is the time for new leadership to put implement our plans. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Andy for his hard work, personal commitment and dedication to Aston Martin Lagonda since 2014. “
The company’s chief operating officer, Keith Stanton, will oversee operations until Moers is in the top position.
The change at the top comes after a few difficult months at Aston Martin. The British company almost went bankrupt for the eighth time in 107 years of existence.
Over the weekend, Palmer told the Financial Times, who first reported the news, that he was unaware that he should be sacked and declined to comment further.
In a statement released Tuesday by the company on the stock exchange, 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 capabilities of our employees. I would like to thank my management team and all staff for their hard work and support, especially during the challenges presented by Covid-19. “
Aston Martin also announced the appointment of Peter Espenhahn as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee and Lord Carrington as Chair of the Compensation Committee.
Stroll has agreed in recent weeks to inject more than £ 75 million in short-term financing to help the company tackle a cash crisis as it struggles with the turmoil in the stock markets.
The automaker was also hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced it to close 90% of its dealerships worldwide and caused sales to plummet.
Earlier this month, Aston Martin announced a loss of £ 119 million for the first quarter of the year, which pushed its shares to record levels.
The company said Moers has a history of business turnaround and Stroll added, “He is the right leader for Aston Martin Lagonda as we execute on our strategy to help the company reach its full potential. “
Aston Martin, like other European automakers, was forced to shutdown production for several weeks during the coronavirus crisis. It closed its two factories at its main site in Gaydon, Warwickshire, and at its site in St Athan, in South Wales, which was preparing to start production of its SUV DBX.