Andy Palmer takes the wheel at Aston Martin

Aston Martin revenues rose to £519m in 2013
LUXURY carmaker Aston Martin revealed yesterday that Andy Palmer would sit in the driving seat as its new chief executive, after scooping him from Nissan, and bringing to an end a nine month search for a new leader.

Palmer’s move to Aston Martin comes as the 101-year-old carmaker, famous for featuring in the James Bond film series, seeks to gain ground on rivals such as Bentley and Ferrari.

Palmer, formerly planning chief at Nissan, has 35 years experience in the industry since starting as an apprentice at 16. He joined the Japanese carmaker in 1991, working for the past 13 years in Japan.

There will be quite a switch in scale for Palmer as he makes the move from Nissan, which sold approximately 5.2m cars in its 2013 financial year, to Aston Martin, which had sales of around 4,200 cars in 2013.

However, Palmer may be expected to benefit in his new role at Aston Martin from his experience leading Nissan’s own luxury Infiniti car brand.

Palmer will succeed former Aston Martin chief executive Ulrich Bez, who stood down in November last year at the age of 70.

The departure of Palmer to lead Aston Martin follows other high-profile departures from the Renault-Nissan partnership headed by Carlos Ghosn. Last year, Carlos Tavaras left the alliance to take over as chief executive of Peugeot-Citroen.

In addition, in July this year, Johan de Nysschen, chief executive of the Infiniti division at Nissan, also left for General Motors.

As it seeks to improve its fortunes Aston Martin is pursuing a £500m investment plan over the next five years, and has also increased its relationship with Daimler, including an agreement to buy Mercedes engines from the German car- maker.