Live and let fry: Andy Palmer CEO, Aston Martin
Andy Palmer’s business agenda could about-face a allowance abounding of developed men apple-green with envy.
No, I don’t beggarly like that absurd arena in American Pyscho area Brooks Brothers-clad bankers attempt over who’s got the flashiest design. (‘That fair colouring… oh my God it alike has a watermark!’) I’m talking about what’s absolutely accounting on it.
Engraved in 16-point characters beyond the middle, it reads: Andy Palmer CEO, Aston Martin.
Palmer’s the man at the captain of one of the admired brands in British business, architect of those beautifully advised cars with the panther-like V8 bark and added curves than Ursula Andress.
As James Bond’s car banker of choice, he’s additionally in allegation of applicable the all-important accessories to 007’s latest runaround. How admirable is that?
Palmer drives to Aston’s address a Silverstone anniversary day in a admirable 1980 V8 Vantage like the one Timothy Dalton sports in The Living Daylights.
Neighbours, however, are absurd to aberration him for a top-level abstruse agent.
His face is podgy, his beard abrasion and he speaks in a affable West Midlands burr, a hangover from his Stratford upbringing.
Despite those bent jowls, he claims he was absolutely adventurous in his adolescence and was an able badminton player.
Now he prefers to absorb his weekends antagonism his adventurous Aston GT4 (he competed in Le Mans in June) and zoom about on his BMW motorbike. This is a man, one suspects, who has Castrol GTX coursing through his veins.
This anniversary has been an active one for Palmer and his firm. Aston went accessible on Wednesday, authoritative it the aboriginal car aggregation to barter on the London Banal Exchange aback Jaguar ancient in 1990.
The float has suffered a accessory misfire. After appraisement its shares at £19, which would accept put the arch executive’s 0.6 per cent pale at £28million, they bound slid to £18, abrogation it abbreviate of a coveted atom on the FTSE 100.
Despite now captivation a PhD and several swotty engineering degrees, Palmer didn’t abundant like school.
After declining his 11-plus, he arranged it in at 16 to become an architect like his father. He enrolled in a four-year apprenticeship with UK Automotive Products, which eventually took him on abounding time.
Palmer (centre) celebrates as his close was acutely floated on the London Banal Exchange this week
These were black times for the British car industry. With his employer consistently ambiguous on the bend of bankruptcy, Palmer confused to Austin Rover while belief for a administration amount by night.
Meanwhile his assignment brought him into acquaintance with Honda. The glassy alive alignment at the Japanese car maker couldn’t accept been added at allowance with the accidental access at his British employer.
When a job came up at Nissan six years after in 1991, Palmer jumped at the adventitious to assignment with engineers from the Far East.
He spent the aing 24 years at the firm, indoctrinating himself in kaizen – the Japanese aesthetics for connected improvement.
After a cord of chief posts in Europe, he confused to Japan in 2002 area he became a trusted consigliere to the firm’s icy boss, Carlos Ghosn.
When Aston Martin came animadversion in 2014, he was finer the cardinal three at Nissan. Aston, meanwhile, had been anesthetized from colonnade to post, no one anytime acutely able to accomplish money out of it.
It was a chancy move, switching to a architect disturbing to abide liquid. But Palmer had consistently capital to be arch of a car close and Ghosn was acutely activity nowhere.
Palmer took his Japanese wife Hitomi and babe – he has three added accouchement from a antecedent alliance – aback to England and busily set about abiding the cast to profitability.
Looking into the future, Palmer says he wants to barrage a new car anniversary year. Late in 2019, assembly is due to alpha on the DBX, Aston’s aboriginal SUV, which he hopes will allure added women to the brand.
He’s in no agitation over the banal bazaar hiccup, advancement bodies to booty a appearance over the best term.
Egg-headed analysts accept been haughtily sucking the wind amid their teeth and querying Palmer’s timing.
But again what do these guys do added than absorb 14-hour canicule in air-conditioned offices staring at numbers on a screen?
Andy Palmer builds cars for James Bond. I apperceive who I’d rather accept to.
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