Struggling luxury UK carmaker Aston Martin has announced that chief executive Andy Palmer has stepped down.
Tobias Moers is taking over from 1 August, with Keith Stanton filling the gap as interim chief operating officer.
Mr Moers joins from Mercedes’ high-performance subsidiary AMG, where he is currently chief executive.
Aston Martin was struggling before the coronavirus crisis hit sales and its share price is down 94% since the company’s flotation in 2018.
“The board has determined that now is the time for new leadership to deliver our plans,” Aston Martin said in a statement.
Mr Palmer said it had been “a privilege” to serve Aston Martin for almost six years.
He thanked management and staff for “their hard work and support, particularly during the challenges presented by Covid-19”.
In other management changes, the firm said three of its directors – Richard Solomons, Imelda Walsh and Tensie Whelan – had departed on Saturday. They had already indicated that they would not seek re-election in June.
The news was well received by the markets, with Aston Martin’s share price surging more than 40% in Tuesday morning trading.
Neil Wilson of Markets.com described the share price rise as “a pretty damning indictment” of Mr Palmer’s tenure.
Aston Martin sales halved in the first three months of the year, as the start of the coronavirus crisis took hold. The company sold 578 vehicles in the first quarter, down from 1,057 in the same period last year.
It caused loss before tax to soar to £118.9m, up from £17.3m the year before.
In January this year, Aston Martin announced plans to raise emergency funding worth £500m, with a consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll putting in £182m
Mr Stroll, who is now executive chairman of the firm, partly owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team, which will be branded Aston Martin from 2021 under the deal.
Mr Stroll said Mr Moers was “the right leader for Aston Martin Lagonda as we implement our strategy for the business to achieve its full potential”.
He added: “Our ambition for the company is significant, clear and only matched by our determination to succeed.”
Mr Moers said: “I am truly excited to be joining Aston Martin Lagonda at this point of its development. I have always had a passion for performance cars and relish the chance to work for this iconic brand.”