Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc is interviewing candidates to become its fourth chief executive in as many years, as the struggling UK carmaker prepares to replace 77-year-old Amedeo Felisa.
Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll has contacted current and former heads of other luxury auto manufacturers to gauge interest in the role, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the conversations were private.
An Aston Martin spokesperson declined to comment. The company’s shares dropped as much as 4% as of 12:25 p.m. Tuesday in London. The stock has slumped 54% since the end of July.
Stroll, 64, tapped Felisa to be CEO in May 2022, replacing former Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers, who spent less than two years in the job. His predecessor, Andy Palmer, left months after Stroll rescued Aston Martin in early 2020.
Aston Martin’s search is no surprise given that Felisa — who initially retired from Ferrari NV in 2016 — was “always a temporary solution,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean said in a report.
The carmaker synonymous with James Bond has repeatedly needed to raise more capital since Stroll took over as the largest shareholder four years ago. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and EV maker Lucid Group Inc. have taken stakes in the UK company since mid-2022.
Aston Martin warned in November that it expected to ship fewer vehicles than previously forecast for the full year, after supply-chain issues hampered the rollout of its new DB12 sports car.
Felisa was on Aston Martin’s board when Stroll needed a chief executive to replace Moers, who left in the midst of the company’s troubles launching the £2.4 million ($3 million) Valkyrie supercar. Felisa spent 26 years at Ferrari and was CEO in his last eight years with the company, ending in 2016.
While Stroll has steadied Aston Martin to a degree, the Canadian billionaire acknowledged last year that he didn’t know what he was getting into when he threw the company a lifeline around the start of the global pandemic. He’s set targets for the manufacturer to generate £2.5 billion of revenue and £800 million in adjusted earnings by 2028, both well short of what Ferrari brings in annually.
Aston Martin’s next CEO faces the challenge of executing the transition to electric vehicles while launching two new front-engine sports cars, a new Valhalla supercar and a revamped DBX sport utility vehicle, BI’s Dean wrote. The carmaker forged ties with Lucid last year to source components from the EV maker in exchange for shares and cash.
Stroll capitalized on growing investor interest in Formula One racing late last year by selling a minority stake in Aston Martin’s team — which is separate from the listed car company — to U.S. private equity firm Arctos Partners at a valuation of about £1 billion.