Electric Car Champion Andy Palmer Leaves Nissan to Become CEO of Gas-Guzzling Aston Martin

In the automotive world, there’s very rarely such a thing as a surprise story. So when it happens, it leaves those who comment on it a little dazed.

And so it is with the surprise news that Andy Palmer, Nissan’s Executive Vice President and one of the auto industry’s most vocal supporters of electric cars, has left the Japanese automaker to become CEO of niche-market yet loss-making prestige British automaker Aston Martin.

Former Nissan Executive and known EV fan Andy Palmer is now head of Aston Martin

Former Nissan Executive and known EV fan Andy Palmer is now head of Aston Martin

Announced this morning, Palmer will assume the position of Aston Martin CEO with immediate effect, marking the end of Aston Martin’s nine-month stint without a leader.

Palmer, who joined Nissan in 1991 as business administration manager at Nissan’s Technical Centre in Europe, has held many positions within the company, first working in Nissan’s Technical Centre Europe before moving to Japan in 2002 to become Program Director for Light Commercial Vehicles at the company.

More recently in 2009, Palmer was appointed Senior Vice President of the company before taking up a position as Executive Vice President in 2011.

In his most recent role at the company — Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer — Palmer was responsible for global product planning, global program management and communications. This included not only helping lay the path for future Nissan vehicles, but also for Nissan’s growing electric vehicle program, including its LEAF electric car and e-NV200 electric van. Earlier this year, when Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti lost its brand boss Johan de Nysschen, Palmer assumed responsibility for Infiniti’s lineup too.

De Nysschen, a known EV skeptic, had put on hold plans for any electrified Infiniti models when he joined the brand back in 2011, but shortly after his departure, Palmer confirmed that Infiniti’s plans for electric cars weren’t dead at all.

Andy Palmer at the start of Nissan e-NV200 Production in Barcelona earlier this year

Andy Palmer at the start of Nissan e-NV200 Production in Barcelona earlier this year

Like Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, Andy Palmer is a known, vocal fan of electric cars. As well as supporting Nissan’s ZEOD race car project, Palmer famously stood up against electric car skeptics in 2011, calling claims that electric cars were more dirty than gasoline cars ‘bullshit.’

Since the launch of the Nissan LEAF in 2011, Palmer has actively engaged with LEAF owners, most noticeably answering questions and concerns from owners in hot U.S. states surrounding premature battery ageing at specially-convened Nissan LEAF town hall meetings.

He also took part in an Interview with EV advocate and Transport Evolved regular Chelsea Sexton surrounding the issue and it was his candor and willingness to publicly engage on electric car issues which made him a far more recognisable public figure to electric car fans than most auto industry executives.

A month ago, Nissan offered Transport Evolved an interview slot for this week with Andy Palmer to talk about Nissan’s current and future electric and self-driving car plans. Late last week, we were told his schedule had changed and thus the interview would need to be moved back a few weeks, but no mention was made of his impending departure.

Of course, there are two questions which remain unanswered. Firstly, what will Nissan and Infiniti’s electric car future be like without Andy Palmer on board? And secondly, does this mean we should expect an all-electric Aston Martin — perhaps even as James Bond’s new car — some time soon?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below, and join us in wishing Andy all the best at Aston Martin.

————————————

Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

______________________________________

Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInDigg thisShare on RedditEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Related News

  • jeffsongster

    Congrats to Andy… Hopefully Nissan will promote someone equally devoted to clean mobility to replace him.

  • An amazing opurtunity for Andy Palmer to leave his mark on automotive history (the near future). Andy will be in a position to make effect driving experience for years to come as we enter an era of connected and electrified vehicles. Both technologies are new and it will be interesting how Andy forms his stratergy as they mature in next 3-10 years. The future looks brighter for Andy Palmer and Aston Martin.nnThis announcement is a big loss for Nissan-Infiniti as its executive leadership continues to churn. Eyes will turn to Carlos Ghosn and who will be his successor between 2017-2020. While Nissan and Infiniti’s stratergy has been defined for the next 3-5 years; there is now a degree of unknown beyond 2020. This is also an opportunity for Nissan and Infiniti to excell in new ways.

    • vdiv

      Don’t think any car company has their ducks in order 6 years from now. If they do 6 months from now most would be happy 🙂 Also I think Andy has a better chance to make a difference at the much larger Nissan than at the boutique Aston Martin, which is rumored to be an acquisition target for Daimler.

  • Esl1999 .

    What in the world is going on with Carlos Ghosn and Nissan. Top level executives are bailing and going to other automotive manufacturers (Tesla being one). Maybe Mr. Palmer felt a “Bond” with Aston Martin.