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Aston Martin shock appointment

By Damion Smy, 04 Sep 2014 News

Aston Martin shock appointment

Andy Palmer quits Renault-Nissan to head British luxury brand

ASTON Martin has poached highly regarded British executive Andy Palmer to be its new CEO.

Palmer, 51, had been tipped as a future CEO of Renault-Nissan, the world's fourth-largest car maker.

He was chief planning officer at Renault-Nissan, as well as executive vice-president, a member of the executive committee and chairman of Infiniti, the brand's prestige arm. He also looked after program management, electric vehicles, global marketing communications and global sales.

He has played a crucial role in the brand's strong manufacturing and product line in the UK, where the Qashqai crossover was the sixth-bestselling vehicle in 2013, and was also a vocal supporter of the Leaf, reducing CO2 and the autonomous car.

Palmer is a noted car enthusiast who had joined Nissan in 1991, after a spell at Austin Rover.

In 2013, he was named the world's third-most influential CEO in a study for Forbes magazine.

At Aston Martin, he replaces Ulrich Bez, who retired from the position at the end of 2013 after turning 70.

Aston Martin is now a more profitable company than when Bez took the reigns, despite sales figures almost halving.

The colourful Bez nursed the brand through the GFC and helped it maintain its lustre, despite lacking the resources of its rivals.

Bez crucially understood the value of the brand, but also mustered a deal with Daimler to take a 5 percent stake in the company in 2013, giving it access to newer technology, including engine hardware.

Aston Martin recently confirmed it will build the Lagonda sedan and Daimler's stake will be used to reinvigorate its ageing line-up.