By on September 2, 2014

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Longtime Nissan executive Andy Palmer will join Aston Martin as its new CEO, effective September 15th. This bodes well for the struggling boutique sports car maker, but leaves Infiniti with a critical leadership vacuum.

Palmer’s appointment at Aston Martin brings considerable experience working with both luxury brands and in partnership with Daimler. Aston Martin is expected to use engines from Daimler’s high-performance AMG brand in future, and may co-operate further with the German auto maker.

For Renault-Nissan, this is the second high profile departure in recent months. Palmer was filling in for recently departed Infiniti executive Johan de Nysschen, who left for Cadillac in July. Infiniti will now become the responsibility of North America head Jose Munoz, with a permanent replacement expected to arrive at a later date. Renault Executive Vice President Philippe Klein will replace Palmer as Chief Planning Officer and assume Palmer’s seat on the board.

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23 Comments on “Andy Palmer Named Aston Martin CEO, Leaving Infiniti Without Leadership...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This could be bad news for Nissan’s EV program; Andy was an excellent proponent of it.

    Personally, I think this is a poor career move for him. His future at Nissan seemed very bright, but Aston Martin seems like a dead end with limited products and tiny volume. If their market space burbs, he’ll get the flu.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    We can question whether these are lateral or downward moves, but both men seem to be upping their quality of life.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    No leadership? Isn’t Vettel in charge? :)

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      No, Carlos Ghosn is in charge, and he seems to have no time for or interest in Infiniti and the low volume luxury segment of the market. He’s doing to Infiniti the brand what he did to Maxima the nameplate: pushing the lower level higher volume Altima with more features and firmly planting Nissan (and Renault) in the lower middle of the market while letting the upscale/luxury division wither on the vine. When the top guy doesn’t give you the resources or product to compete, it’s time for ambitious executives to move on.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @Lorenzo

        +1 for the Maxima/Altima. the new Altima’s styling (and Nissan’s new corporate design language as a whole) really bums me out, as I feel like it greatly cheapens the still-excellent Maxima.

        I haven’t traditionally been a Nissan fan, but Infiniti has some really compelling, luxurious and often unique product. It’s a shame about that stupid new naming convention.

  • avatar

    Why is there a picture of a Fusion at the top of this article? Just kidding. I know the difference between Bruce Lee and Louie Anderson wearing a Bruce Lee mask.

  • avatar
    Car-los

    I think this is an exciting move for Andy Palmer since Aston Martin is such a high profile company but yet not a very successful one. If Andy manages to revitalize the brand, and i think he provably can, he will be able to walk into any job he chooses and on his on terms.

    All the best Andy!

  • avatar
    hifi

    Risky move for Palmer. But the reality is, Infiniti is a lame brand that has struggled to be taken seriously as a premium nameplate. I don’t know what Aston was thinking by hiring him, but there is not doubt that this is a much more coveted and untapped brand than the one he is leaving. The risk to Palmer will be that AM is not hugely profitable, if at all, and exists in a part of europe with difficult labor laws that no CEO wants to deal with. Also, if AM is sold to someone like Mercedes, he could be replaced. But of course, he’d be a part of that acquisition, so he’d make out just fine.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Considering how poorly Infiniti’s new products (not to mention a naming strategy built around the wrong letter) have been received I’m not surprised to see a round of musical chairs commence. Either they saw how poorly things were going with the G replacement and decided to bail while they were still worth something, or Nissan saw how poorly things were going and asked them to leave. Either way I don’t have a very good opinion of the recent management at Infiniti.

    From my point of view Infiniti had a product with the G35&7 that needed some refinement but was a great launching point for attacking the segment leader, BMW. I no longer consider that to be the case. BMW is no longer as good as it once was so if anything that makes their product failure even more serious.

    • 0 avatar
      Davekaybsc

      Very true. The fact that Infiniti engineers are just now experimenting with transplanting the G’s steering setup into the Q50 speaks volumes. Why did they think anyone bought the G in the first place? Who thought the steer-by-wire system was a good idea? Have they been fired?

      Infiniti seems to be of two minds a lot of the time, one side wants to be first with the latest geeky tech feature, and the other wants to be the bargain BMW. When that means things like bird’s eye view cameras and lane departure prevention and things like that, fine. When the geeky side wants to mess with the driving experience though, it should be told to sit down and shut up. Otherwise you end up with the Q50S which has no idea what kind of car it is.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    I don’t see why AM is always described as a ‘struggling’ brand. The factory is running at about 100% capacity and sales have been increasing since a drop over the financial crisis. If you’ve got the cash to support dev of the One-77 and the new Lagonda, you’re not exactly destitute.

    As for Palmer, I’ve sat in on round tables with him and he’s a clued-in guy that knows Nissan inside out. And now he has a fancy company car to go along with that business know-how. When Daimler pulls the trigger and takes a controlling stake in AM – and I’d put money on that going through at some point – he’ll be sitting pretty.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I wonder how much longer they can milk design out of the original DB7 and Vanquish. Surely that time is nearly at an end.

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