Thursday, June 4, 2020


Gordon Sutherland
Gordon Sutherland’s family owned Aston Martin between 1933 and 1947.

When British automotive writer Andrew English met him, aged 88, in 1996 he joked that “while saving Aston Martin was a reoccurring chore for all its owners, making money was optional”.

The latest CEO to pack his office belongings into a cardboard box and leave by the back door is Dr. Andy Palmer. It was huge contrast to the day Aston Martin's IPO mesmerized the London Stock Exchange, when Andy Palmer and the key shareholders were cock-a-hoop.

As I said previously, shares launched at  AUD$35 each - today they're worth AUD65 cents. A drop of 98% - so some things had to go, and it was Palmer, his expense account, and his Aston Martin company car.

However, for Palmer, at least there was a silver lining as he left the building.

A good friend in the UK who keep close tabs on the car industry reports that Palmer will leave his job with a payout of 15 million pounds!

Not bad, for a failing business with debts up the wazoo, and revenue diving.

There were very few expressions of sketpiscm when Palmer was out on the interview circuit, talking up the company which produced beautiful sports and hypercars, promising a rosy future!

Most would agree, it's galling when someone now looking more like a snake oil salesman profits at the expense of others.

Compare that payout with the outcome for shareholders, and employees.

My friend also pointed out the ridiculous valuation of Aston Martin at the time of the IPO, saying: "How can you value a business that has made an annual profit only twice in 100 years, at a greater market cap than Ferrari?"

Great name, great history, great cars.

What about the road ahead?

John Crawford

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