Aston Martin Sees CEO Swap

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Aston Martin Lagonda will be seeing new leadership. Tobias Moers will be surrendering his role as chief executive to make way for former Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa.

While the formal announcement was made on Wednesday, rumors about Moers getting the boot had been circulating ever since Aston Martin Racing head Otmar Szafnauer left the company in January after repeatedly butting heads with executive chairman Lawrence Stroll. Szafnauer was said to have resigned, however, reports suggested that the Canadian financier was displeased with his performance. At the time, there were claims that Moers’ head was next on the chopping block.

As with the company’s former racing boss, Moers was said to have resigned. But it’s incredibly common for the industry to establish a rosier narrative to make it seem as though everything is hunky-dory. Don’t forget that Carlos Ghosn also “resigned” before it was revealed that a corporate coup and some financial shenanigans had taken place within the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance. Notices of CEOs quitting can mean everything from an amicable departure to someone being physically dragged from the premises against their will.

We don’t have anything that would suggest the latter at this juncture. But there’s been plenty of speculation that Stroll wanted to replace Moers, with Car Magazine confirming reports that the two were bickering about how to manage the business. Moers was reportedly seeking to develop a German tech base for Aston Martin, moving R&D out of Gaydon while getting cozier with Mercedes-Benz — which holds a 20-percent stake in the British automaker. The outlet said Stroll was more interested in being buddies with the Italians and even predicted ex-Ferrari chief Amedeo Felisa coming to replace Moers. Though he didn’t get much of an introduction when the time came.

From Aston Martin:

Mr Amedeo Felisa joined Aston Martin Lagonda in May 2022 as Chief Executive Officer, having previously served as a non-Executive Director of AML, Felisa is appointed an Executive Director of Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc.

Felisa has spent his entire career in automotive and engineering with over 26 years in leadership roles at Ferrari, including eight as CEO, guiding the Italian-based global luxury automotive OEM through its turnaround and growth phase as the engineering and product-development force behind every new model.

Felisa holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the Milan Politecnico University.

At 76, Felisa has already fallen under criticism for being too old to run the company. But it’s not as if things were going swimmingly under Tobias Moers. The automaker reported a pre-tax loss of £111 million ($138.8 million) for the first quarter, expanding on its £42-million ($52.5-millon) loss from a year earlier. The business has also undergone numerous management shakeups during the now-ex CEO’s brief tenure. However, it may not be fair to attribute those failings to Moers directly, as he joined the company during the particularly rough 2020 with a stated desire to streamline operations and focus on tech.

Stroll spoke well of him, saying that he helped “deliver our future strategy, with a particular focus on technology advancements, and our in-house engineering capabilities, as we move towards electrification.”

While there could be some bad blood bubbling beneath the surface, my guess is that Moers’ prior relationship with Daimler and reported desire for Aston to get even further intertwined with Mercedes-Benz simply wasn’t something Stroll was interested in. Though, beyond ensuring his son always has a racing team to drive for, it’s not all that clear what his grand vision for the company entails.

Copying the Germans seems like it probably would have been a mistake. But aping the Italians doesn’t seem any wiser. Aston Martin needs its own strategy and to figure out a way to tap into its unique Britishness in a manner that resonates with customers. But speculating on what needs to be done is a lot easier than actually coming up with a winning plan. Here’s hoping CEO Felisa will have something concrete for us soon.

[Images: Aston Martin]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on May 05, 2022

    Well we are certainly off topic but I agree. As posted elsewhere Corey and Murillee are basically keeping this site afloat. As others posted, please return to a) QOTD, b) B/D/B, c) Ace of Base, d) car buying tips and e) reader reviews. As for comments, it seems that many have 'withdrawn' due to many comments/posts becoming more political than auto centric. Yes, the auto industry is influenced by government regulation, but please focus on the auto aspect. The disappearance of at least one log in name, which may have been multiple posters using the same sign in based on the difference in syntax, grammar, wording and 'back story' from that log in name, occurred simultaneously with the Russian attack on Ukraine. Which certainly provides credible circumstantial evidence that this site was used by a Kremlin backed troll or trolls to post divisive comments. And that they have shifted their focus elsewhere during this 'military intervention'. Perhaps a return to more robust moderation would be beneficial? After all some previous commentators were 'banned' for much less pernicious postings.

  • Haywire Haywire on May 05, 2022

    Does anyone else see mid-60s Ford in the head- and taillights?

    • Matt Posky Matt Posky on May 05, 2022

      As a small child, I originally thought James Bond preferred the Ford Mustang because the first two 007 films I saw were The Living Daylights (where he drives an Aston Martin AMV8) and Diamonds Are Forever (where he drives a Mustang Mach 1).

  • VoGhost Fantastic work by Honda design. When I first saw the pictures, I thought "Is that a second gen Acura NSX?"
  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.
  • 2ACL A good car, but - at least in this configuration -not one that should command a premium. Its qualities just aren't as enduring as those of Honda's contemporary sports cars. For better or worse, this is a formula they remain able to replicate.
  • Jalop1991 I just read that Tesla's profits are WAY down "as the electric vehicle company has faced both more EV competition from established automakers and a slowing of overall EV sales growth." This Cadillac wouldn't help Tesla at all, but the slowing market of EV sales overall means this should be a halo/boutique car. Regardless, yes, they should make it.