IN A BID to prop up a share price that looked to be in a death spiral, Tobias Moers, the former head of AMG, has been appointed CEO of Aston Martin, bringing to an end the six-year tenure of Andy Palmer.
Moers won’t formally take up the position until the start of August, with Keith Stanton, Aston’s former head of manufacturing, taking up the reins as an interim Chief Operating Officer, reporting to the Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll.
While Moers’ resume is unimpeachable, doubling the size of AMG’s product portfolio while quadrupling its sales, his vision in strategic product planning has cemented his reputation. The company’s move to downsized turbo engines has been exemplary, but industry rumour suggests that Moers was only comfortable going so far along this path, leading to an internal conflict and his move to Gaydon.
Others see a very different motivation, with Moers set to further cement a relationship with Mercedes- AMG that started when Aston Martin inked an agreement to source engines and electronics from Affalterbach in 2013 and which was quietly bolstered behind the scenes via the buy-in of Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff.
Moers’ vision in strategic product planning has cemented his reputation
The bald facts that ushered Palmer from the company are sobering. Since its public float in 2018, Aston’s share price has fallen by 94 percent. This plunge was exacerbated by sagging revenues, even before coronavirus wrecked the revised timeline of the ‘Second Century’ plan.
Costs from building the new St Athan plant, the ambitious development of fringe mid-engined supersports models, heavy discounting of vehicles and the late entry to market of the DBX SUV – a vehicle which Aston Martin appeared to bet the house on – destroyed investor confidence in the stewardship of the company. Palmer will be remembered as a CEO who got much right, yet couldn’t finesse the timeline to the satisfaction of stakeholders.
Just nine months into his stewardship, Palmer considered his future. “Aston has only been profitable for a few of its 102 years, and for only one of its owners. What were the chances of success?” he asked. “I know the vital model generation will be the one after this, the one we pay for ourselves. I want to be around to make it happen.” Sadly, he won’t. And Tobias Moers has a great deal of work to do.
FIVE ACTION POINTS FOR MOERS
THE TASK FACING TOBIAS IN TURNING ASTON AROUND
STICK TO THE KNITTING Re-examine what Aston Martin is and what it means to customers and deliver on these values, while intelligently modernising
STREAMLINE DBX DELIVERIES Aston’s costly potential saviour has been slow to reach customers. Its moment in the spotlight is undoubtedly finite
RATIONALISE MID- ENGINED COSTS Moers needs to wield the red pen here. It’s pointless drowning in debt only to find you’ve become another McLaren
LOOK AT VANTAGE/ DB11 WALKUP It’s never good business for a premium manufacturer to have its lowest margin model cannibalising sales of a more profitable one
REVISIT DESIGN ETHOS The company has lost its focus from creating some of the most beautiful interiors in the business. The current Vantage cabin is, to put it bluntly, a mess