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Musical chairs at Britain’s blue bloods

1 month ago

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Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder


22 March 2024

If you’re a fan or follower of British blue blood brands in the automotive sphere, it has been quite a morning. At 7.00am and with none of the off the record warnings that usually precede such an event, Bentley Motors announced that its boss, Adrian Hallmark, 61, the man who has brought record profits to Crewe is the boss no longer. A cynic might view the fact that there has been no sniff of news as to his likely successor as evidence than Bentley was caught as much on the hop as the rest of us.

At 8.29am, the reason for Hallmark’s rapid departure became known when a press release, clearly been more than one hour and 29 minutes in the preparation, dropped into our inboxes. It was from Aston Martin announcing one A Hallmark Esq as its new CEO, to be in position by October 1st at the latest. This also signalled the rather more leisurely and structured departure of current CEO Amedeo Felisa, 77. If Hallmark can do for Aston what he did for Bentley, its impressive current form seems likely to accelerate. As its fourth CEO in as many years, hopefully he’ll stick around a bit too.

160426 McLaren F1 MTC 05

We then had almost three whole hours before the next bomb dropped, in the form of a post on the LinkedIn page of McLaren Automotive CEO Michael Leiters saying that Mumtalakat – the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain and long term McLaren shareholder – had taken full ownership of the entire McLaren Group.

What, in material terms, does this mean for McLaren? By clearing out all other interests, it makes teaming up with a large automotive OEM – something Leiters has often discussed – far simpler and easier. As he says in his post: ‘The capital reorganisation also provides a strong platform on which to engage with potential strategic partners in order to expand McLaren’s product portfolio…’ Into which I read three letters: S, U and V. I expect all three stories to have some distance to run yet. We’ll keep you posted…

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