Andy Palmer Named Aston Martin CEO, Leaving Infiniti Without Leadership

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

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.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Hifi Hifi on Sep 02, 2014

    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.

    • Piffpaff Piffpaff on Sep 02, 2014

      AS far as I know Aston Martin is based in the UK, where labor laws are probably the most employer-friendly in all of Europe - thank you Mrs. Thatcher.

  • Tedward Tedward on Sep 02, 2014

    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.

    • Davekaybsc Davekaybsc on Sep 02, 2014

      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.

  • Motormouth Motormouth on Sep 03, 2014

    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.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 09, 2014

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