Bentley CEO Jumps Ship for Aston Martin


bentley ceo jumps ship for aston martin

Bentley’s former CEO Adrian Hallmark has broken with the company after making remarks that sales were down due to wealthy people buying fewer luxury products over concerns that it might upset poorer people living in those markets. That’s paraphrasing and his words were chosen much more carefully. However subsequent clarification from Bentley suggested that some markets were “experiencing continued economic and political difficulty” that would dissuade “showing displays of wealth.” It didn’t play well in the media and Hallmark has reportedly left the brand and since taken up with Aston Martin.

There was a lot of initial speculation that Hallmark was being fired for his statements and not necessarily because they were untrue. However, it now appears that the executive may have already had plans to jump ship. Bentley issued a surprise announcement that its longtime CEO had asked to leave the company just three days ago. While we’ll probably never know the full circumstances of what happened, it seems probable that someone had been planning a management change for a while.

Corporations are usually pretty careful to mitigate any internal drama that might make them look disorganized and CEOs don’t tend to abandon their post unless forced or offered some kind of financial incentive. Considering Aston Martin scooped Hallmark up just days after he left Bentley, it would seem that at least some of the parties involved have been considering a management change for quite some time.

It has been known that Aston had been looking for a new CEO. Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll even confirmed the plan in February. Former Ferrari executive Amedeo Felisa had been brought out of retirement to head the brand in 2020. While his background made him an ideal fit for a brand like Aston Martin, his age made it clear that his tenure would probably be short lived.

“When Amedeo [Felisa] was appointed CEO, I spoke of him leading a new phase of growth and development,” Stroll said in a recent press release. “Two years on, we have delivered on that promise, as we near completion of our thrilling new product portfolio and move closer to our vision of becoming the world’s most desirable, ultra-luxury British performance brand.”

“I’d like to personally pay tribute to Amedeo, recognising not just what he has achieved at Aston Martin but throughout his long and distinguished career at the very top of the ultra-luxury automotive industry. I am pleased that Amedeo will remain in post until Adrian joins and will continue to oversee the launch of our upcoming products, with our breathtaking line-up of new front engine sports cars a fitting legacy to his time leading the Company and its product strategy. We look forward to celebrating Amedeo’s contribution to Aston Martin’s recent success before wishing him the very best.”

“It has been a great privilege to serve as Aston Martin’s Chief Executive Officer, leading our iconic brand through this exciting era. I am incredibly proud of the progress made over the last two years, which has aligned Aston Martin for a positive future direction. I believe now is the right time to allow the Company to transition to new leadership.

Felisa said it was a great privilege to serve as CEO while the company went through a transitional phase and that he believed now was the time for him to step down and let someone else continue after he’s handled the new vehicle launches. He will continue to helm Aston Martin for a while, with the company stating that Hallmark will take over no later than this October.

Like many luxury brands, Aston Martin has had difficulties navigating the modern era. However, the company seems to have developed a sound plan under Stroll and Felisa that involves spending heavily to pitch itself even further upmarket with stunning new models. The plan certainly has impacted its overall profitability in recent years to do the amount of funding required to develop these vehicles. But the assumption is that it will eventually pay off. Several large investment and credit firms (e.g. Moody’s) seem pleased with the scheme and have encouraged others to buy up shares since early 2023.

It looks like Hallmark will be picking up where Felisa leaves off, driving those product launches and subsequent production push. While your author isn’t ready to call Aston Martin saved, the brand does seem to be in the best position afforded to it in recent years.

“Like many working within the ultra-luxury segment, I have admired the continued transformation of Aston Martin’s brand and products from afar and feel honoured to have the opportunity to work with Lawrence, the Board and the Company’s employees to lead its next chapter,” stated Hallmark.

“The transformation of Aston Martin is one of the most exciting projects within the ultra-luxury automotive industry. I am looking forward to continuing the Company’s great momentum and utilising my experience and passion to further unleash this iconic brand’s potential and take it to even greater success.”

bentley ceo jumps ship for aston martin

[Image: Aston Martin]

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