Future of Aston Martin CEO in Doubt
Tobias Moers’ future as CEO of Aston Martin is uncertain after a warning came out this morning that the company will miss its profit targets, Autos Community has learned.
Speculation about Moers’ continued role at Aston Martin follows indifferent financial results from the Gaydon-based luxury carmaker, which was taken over by a consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll in January 2020.
This morning, the company announced that it would miss its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) target by about £15 million due to delays in preparing the Valkyrie hypercar for production.
Asked by Autos Community if Moers’ position was secure, a spokesman said: “Aston Martin does not comment on speculation.” While Tobias Moers was named alongside chief executive Stroll in the press release, several sources told Autos Community that a potential successor was already approached.
The Bloomberg news agency reported that Ford executive Steven Armstrong was a candidate for the post and that initial contact had been made. Autos Community also spoke to a source who confirmed the report. However, Stroll told the Financial Times that he was “absolutely not concerned with replacing Tobias.”
Moers replaced Andy Palmer as CEO, moving from Mercedes-AMG in August 2020. He quickly implemented a new strategy, including shelving plans for a family of Lagonda electric cars and halting the development of the company’s V6 vehicle. However, he struggled to see the Valkyrie project through to completion – the car’s technical complexity was blamed on him – and several established, high-ranking company executives have left since his arrival.
These include Chief Special Operations Officer David King, Chief Executive for Vehicle Attributes Matt Becker, Director of Q Operations Simon Lane, Global President of UK and South Africa Phil Eaglesfield, General Manager Carl Elston, Supply Chain Director Kris Elston, New Model Quality Director Stuart Jeff, Head of Product Strategy and Planning Mark Wallace and Chief Marketing Officer Peter Freedman.
A source told Autos Community that more than half of the leadership team had left the company since Moers took the helm, suggesting that his hands-on management style has caused considerable tension. A significant number of employees who have left the company are supported by LinkedIn research, but Autos Community could not verify exact percentages.
Shortly after taking office, Moers described Aston’s situation as “worse than I thought, as bad as it could be”. He is said to have clashed repeatedly with his teams as he tried to impose his vision for the company’s future.
Although Aston’s financial results have been more positive recently – revenues almost tripled in 2021 compared to the previous year, mainly due to sales of the DBX SUV, which was developed under Palmer’s leadership and accounted for more than half of revenues – its financial performance was hit by significant loan repayments last year.
This morning it was announced that the company missed its 2021 forecasts. Final figures are due to be officially confirmed next month.
Aston Martin’s share price has fallen almost 90% since its IPO in 2018. The potential loss of the company’s chief executive is likely to be seen as a further setback to Stroll’s ambitions to return the company to profitability and make it what it is: Britain’s Ferrari.
According to Autos Community’s sources, details about Moers’ likely successors are not yet known.
Armstrong, a long-time Ford employee, most recently served as Ford’s transformation officer in South America and India, having previously been president of Changan Ford in China and chairman of Ford of Europe.
He was also a chief operating officer of Volvo, where he oversaw the sale to Geely, held senior positions at Jaguar and was close to Aston Martin when it was part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group (PAG).
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