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Aston Martin poaches CEO from rival Bentley

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Aston Martin has made a significant move by poaching the chief executive of rival Bentley to lead the London-listed carmaker, marking the third change in leadership within four years.

Adrian Hallmark, 61, who spearheaded a successful turnaround at Bentley under Volkswagen’s ownership, will now take the helm at Aston Martin. During his tenure, Bentley experienced a remarkable ninefold increase in operating profits since the onset of the pandemic.

This appointment comes as Lawrence Stroll, executive chairman of Aston Martin, continues to navigate the company’s journey since providing a £182 million bailout in 2020. Hallmark will succeed Amedeo Felisa, 77, who previously served as chief executive of Ferrari and led Aston Martin’s product strategy team. Felisa assumed the role in 2022, replacing Tobias Moers, who was ousted by Stroll.

Hallmark is expected to assume his new position no later than October 1 and will depart Bentley by mutual agreement. Commenting on his new role, Hallmark expressed excitement about Aston Martin’s transformation, highlighting it as one of the most compelling projects in the ultra-luxury automotive sector.

Under Felisa’s leadership, Aston Martin’s shares nearly halved, plummeting by 93% from their 2018 debut price. The iconic car brand, synonymous with James Bond, faced challenges such as high leverage and substantial losses, exacerbated by production delays that hindered progress toward profitability.

Stroll praised Hallmark as one of the most esteemed leaders in the global automotive industry, expressing confidence in his ability to drive Aston Martin forward.

Despite facing production delays with the launch of the £185,000 DB12 sports car, Aston Martin reported 6,620 vehicle deliveries to dealers last year, slightly below its revised target. Pre-tax losses decreased to £240 million from £495 million, reflecting some improvement.

Aston Martin recently secured a £1.15 billion refinancing deal, although its leverage ratio at the end of last year remained above the targeted level.

Following the announcement of Hallmark’s appointment, Aston Martin’s shares experienced a modest increase, signaling some optimism among investors about the company’s future direction.

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