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Penny Hughes Named First Aston Martin Female Chair

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Aston Martin has named its first female chair as Penny Hughes steps into her new position.

The automaker appointed Hughes at the same time that it prepares for a £5 billion float.

Powerful Board Appointments

Aston Martin has named a female chair for the first time, as Penny Hughes takes her new job with the automaker. Hughes came to the luxury carmaker from having previously been a Coca-Cola exec. She has risen to her new place just as the company gets ready for a £5 billion stock market flotation.

Aston Martin chief exec, Andy Palmer, said that Hughes’ appointment coincided with a number of other top boardroom spot appointments. That said, he pointed to Hughes’ own appointment as “a significant milestone in our history and of the successful turnaround of the company,” which has undergone seven bankruptcies throughout its lifetime.

Heading to the London Stock Exchange

This October, Aston Martin intends to float its shares on the London Stock Exchange. This is a long-awaited flotation. Many analysts expect the move will send the automaker into the FTSE 100 index of the most valuable companies in the U.K. Should the company make it into the FTSE, Hughes will find herself among only seven female blue-chip index company chairs.

That said, this won’t be Hughes’ first time on an FTSE 100 firm board. She’s previously held positions on the board of WM Morrison, Vodafone and the Royal Bank of Scotland. She will also chair the nomination committee at Aston Martin. That said, Hughes spent the majority of her career at Coca-Cola. There, she rose to the position of president of that firm’s U.K. and Ireland operations.

Preparing for the Transition

As October rapidly approaches, the company is getting its ducks in a row in preparation to float.

“The independent directors will bring significant experience to the board as we prepare to float and deliver fully on our business plan commitments,” said Palmer.

Hughes stated that the company’s turnaround impressed her and that she was looking forward to positive things in its future. “Private shareholders have displayed successful long-term stewardship to date and are fully committed, as am I, to transitioning the group, the board and its governance arrangements to those expected of a world-class public company operating from the UK.”

The majority of Aston Martin is owned by Italian and Kuwaiti investment firms. It recently announced its intentions to float at least a quarter of its shares. The company’s eligible customers and employees will be able to purchase shares at the offer price.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.