Andrew Palmer has been appointed as Optare Plc’s non-executive chairman, Ashok Leyland announced on Saturday. The former Aston Martin CEO will be replacing John Fickling, who is stepping down as Chairman due to personal reasons.

Before joining Hinduja Group, Palmer has led transformations at two of the global vehicle brands, Nissan and Aston Martin.

Speaking on the development, Ashok Leyland Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said, “The next phase of Optare’s growth is centred on expanding our electric vehicles business in the UK and many new markets. To help guide in our mission to become a global leader in this segment, I am happy to announce that Andrew Palmer will be taking the position of non-executive chairman. With his impressive wealth of experience and innovative approach, I am confident that under Andy’s chairmanship we will see Optare moving to a higher growth trajectory soon.”

Hinduja said Fickling played an anchor role in the stability of Optare during crucial periods as chairman of the board.

Commenting on his appointment Palmer said, “we have ambitious plans to leverage the company’s technological leadership in building a global zero emissions solution platform that will bring long-term value to all stakeholders.”

“This role builds on Palmer’s established relationship with Optare’s parent, Ashok Leyland, where he has been a non-executive member of the board since 2015,” the statement said.