Aston Martin has appointed Andy Palmer, Nissan’s chief planning officer, as its new CEO, although his starting date has yet to be worked out.
British-born Palmer will assume his position at the head of Aston Martin after a handover period to his successor at Nissan, Phillipe Klein, who will move over from a similar role with Nissan’s alliance partner, Renault. Aston Martin and Nissan are still negotiating the length of the handover period.
Palmer’s appointment finally fills Aston Martin’s CEO position, which has been vacant since November 2013 when Ulrich Bez left the role. Bez, who led Aston Martin for 13 years after heading the product development departments at Porsche, BMW and Daewoo, stepped down from his position last year after his 70th birthday.
When Palmer does finally find himself in Aston Martin’s hot seat, one of his first tasks will be helping to launch the new Lagonda sedan, which has been developed specifically for the Middle Eastern market. Palmer will also guide the company through the development phase of its next generation of vehicles. These new cars will feature electrical systems and V8 engines supplied by Mercedes-Benz, which owns five per cent of Aston Martin.
Palmer, 51, joined Nissan’s European technical centre back in 1991. He moved to Japan in 2002 to head the company’s light truck programme. Palmer was a keen proponent of the company’s electric and autonomous car projects, and his most recent roles have included being Nissan’s head of marketing and the chairman of Infiniti.
Palmer was widely seen as one of the potential successors to Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s current CEO. His exit is the latest in a series of high profile departures from the upper echelons of Renault-Nissan‘s management.
In July, Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen quit the company to return home to the USA and head up GM’s Cadillac brand. Back in August 2013, Renault’s chief operating officer, Carlos Tavares, left to become CEO of French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen.