Director of the Year Awards 2018 – Dr Andy Palmer, president and group CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda

Dr Andy Palmer - Director of the Year Awards

Every day over the Christmas period, we’ll speak to winners from the recent IoD Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Dr Andy Palmer, president and group CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda, who won the Dr Neville Bain Memorial Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice

‘Develop a vision, foster diversity and build trust’

Palmer’s first job was as an apprentice at UK Automotive Products at a time when the British car industry was in crisis. He relocated to Japan with Nissan to find out why the Japanese were better at making cars. In 2014 he became Aston Martin Lagonda’s CEO and turned an iconic, but loss-making, brand into a financial success. He recently started the Palmer Foundation, a charitable project that aims to provide technical apprenticeships for young people with underprivileged backgrounds.

What’s been the most pivotal moment of your career to date? “Going to Japan with Nissan was probably the biggest move, just ahead of my decision to take the helm at Aston Martin Lagonda.”

What’s the secret to building a great team? “Develop a vision, foster diversity and build trust.”

Which business leaders do you most admire? “There are many great people in the automotive industry, but I particularly admire Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chairman, and Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s former chairman.”

How are you approaching Brexit? “We are assessing all parts of the business to ensure our readiness, although we’re most focused on the supply chain.”

What are your priorities for 2019?  “Continuing with the execution of our second-century plan: launching the Aston Martin DBX – our first SUV– and the Valkyrie hypercar, as well as developing the Palmer Foundation.”

Who or what has inspired you most in business? “The book The machine that changed the world by James P Womack, and my dad!”

Which areas of personal professional development are you planning to focus on? “I want to develop a deeper understanding of UK corporate governance and the workings of the FTSE.”

What’s the key to great leadership in your view? “Great leaders show empathy, they are cooperative, communicate concisely, they challenge and most of all they work hard.”

The biggest lesson you have learnt so far? “Hard work and fact-based focus trump IQ and privilege every time.”

Entries are now open for the 2019 IoD Director of the Year Awards – click here for more info and to nominate

Click here for more winners’ interviews


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Director magazine

Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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