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Aston Martin chief Tobias Moers quits after staff exodus

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Tobias Moers Aston Martin quits Ferrari chief executive Amedeo Felisa - Darren Staples/Bloomberg
Tobias Moers Aston Martin quits Ferrari chief executive Amedeo Felisa - Darren Staples/Bloomberg

Aston Martin has hired a veteran Ferrari executive to lead a turnaround of the luxury carmaker as its chief executive quit abruptly following a staff exodus.

Tobias Moers will leave Aston Martin with immediate effect, the company told investors, with former Ferrari chief executive Amedeo Felisa taking the helm. It comes after Aston Martin’s chairman and biggest shareholder, Lawrence Stroll, denied reports that he was planning to replace Mr Moers.

Aston Martin’s shares jumped by as much as 13pc following the announcement.

Mr Felisa, who joined Aston Martin’s board last year, will spearhead an “electrified future” at the company and focus on overhauling its technical team. He is the third chief executive to be appointed by Aston Martin in just over two years following a disastrous three years since it floated on the stock market.

The business was rescued in 2020 by Mr Stroll, who ousted its previous chief executive Andy Palmer.

Mr Moers, who was previously chief executive and chairman of Mercedes-Benz, had planned to expand Aston Martin’s sports car offering. But deliveries of the company's £2.5m Valkyrie supercar have been slow, with analysts at Citigroup warning last month that issues with the car had left its balance sheet “precariously positioned.”

Meanwhile, dozens of senior employees are said to have left the company during Mr Moers’ tenure, according to the Financial Times, amid a collapse in staff morale at the business.

It came as the company revealed that pre-tax losses soared to £111m for the three months to March 31 compared with a £42m loss a year earlier.

Aston Martin also named Roberto Fedeli, who is considered as the creator of Ferrari’s first hybrid supercar, as its chief technical officer following other recent departures. Earlier this year, Otmar Szafnauer left the Aston Martin Formula One team, where he was chief executive officer and principal. Finance chief Kenneth Gregor said in December that he would step down for personal reasons.

Aston Martin has struggled to speed up deliveries of its £2.5m Valkyrie
Aston Martin has struggled to speed up deliveries of its £2.5m Valkyrie

Aston Martin has aspired for many years to be more like Ferrari and become a major lifestyle brand. Last year Mr Stroll said he wanted Aston Martin to have "the strongest profile of any luxury automotive brand" and praised Ferrari's business model of which he said had a "great deal of similarities" to his own company's.

Mr Felisa, who is currently a non-executive director of the company and a veteran in the automotive industry, will also be appointed as executive director with immediate effect.

“He is one of the most highly regarded leaders and engineering professionals in the high-performance luxury sports car sector,” the company said.

Mr Moers’s departure comes after chairman Lawrence Stroll previously denied claims that he was looking to replace him.

In January, a spokesman said that “he was absolutely not engaged whatsoever in looking to replace Tobias”.

Harry Barnick, an Analyst at Third Bridge, said the shift to electric vehicles was “a material drain on cash” as the company’s debt pile continues to loom over its performance.

“With inflation soaring, [profit] margins are under significant pressure for the full year,” he added.

“Aston Martin could struggle to pass on these costs to the consumer due to its ageing line-up.”

Third Bridge estimated that almost £200m is needed to update one car model.

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