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Aston Martin CEO to step down, be replaced by ex-Ferrari chief

Aston Martin named current board member Amedeo Felisa as chief executive officer to replace German manager Tobias Moers

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Automobile | Aston Martin | Ferrari

Bloomberg 

Aston Martin
Aston Martin.

Lagonda Global Holdings Plc is turning to a veteran executive who left the helm of NV six years ago to turn around the British luxury-car maker.

named current board member Amedeo Felisa as chief executive officer to replace German manager Tobias Moers, who struggled with a slower-than-expected ramp up of the 2.4 million-pound ($3 million) Valkyrie supercar. Felisa, 75, will focus on overhauling Aston Martin’s technical team by hiring staff and promoting internal talent.

“To find somebody with that wealth of experience, I don’t think there’s five people in the world that have it,” Chairman Lawrence Stroll said in an interview.

Felisa’s appointment cuts short a tumultuous reign by Moers, whom Stroll hired two years ago after nearly two decades at Mercedes-Benz AG. While the plan was to expand the firm’s lineup with more iterations of the successful DBX sport utility vehicle and revitalize its sports-car lineup, deliveries of the Valkyrie lagged seriously behind. Aston Martin lost a rare buy rating last month after analysts at Citigroup Inc. warned that the Valkyrie issues left the firm’s balance sheet “precariously positioned.”

Aston Martin Says Valkyrie Still On Track After Delivery Delays

Felisa, an auto-engineering expert born in Milan, led for eight years until 2016. He joined Aston Martin’s board last year. Before his time at Ferrari, he ran product development at Fiat Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo division.

Shares Jump

Aston Martin rose as much as 13% in London. The shares are still down by a third this year and have declined around 90% since its initial public offering in 2018.

In the run-up to the London IPO, Aston Martin was pitched as a peer to Ferrari, but things didn’t work out as advertised as sales slumped and dealers struggled to offload cars. The company spent a good year restructuring itself after a rescue by Stroll, who forged closer ties with Mercedes-Benz to ensure the carmaker synonymous with James Bond films survived the pandemic.

Also Wednesday, the British manufacturer reported 24.4 million pounds in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for the first quarter, beating analyst estimates of 16.3 million pounds. The company’s wholesale vehicle shipments fell 14% in the period.

Aston named Roberto Fedeli, another former executive, as its chief technology officer. His appointment could be a response to engineering issues at the carmaker, according to Gabriel Adler, an analyst at Citi.

“The management changes provide the company an opportunity to reposition the business with sufficient time to achieve the 2024/25 mid-term targets and may help reset the equity story,” Adler said in a note to clients. Still, with so many top management changes, “it may take some time to see the impact.”

SUV Orders

Aston Martin said orders for the DBX SUV rose around 60% in the three months through March. The company delivered 14 Valkyries in the period, compared to its full-year target of as many as 90. Stroll vowed that the Valkyrie program is on track.

The carmaker plans to have hybrid variants of all its models in the next two years, with the first fully electric cars by 2025.

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First Published: Wed, May 04 2022. 23:56 IST