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Phillipe Klein returns to Nissan as Palmer departs for Aston Martin

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Nissan’s chief planning officer Andy Palmer is jumping ship in favor of a new position as head of Aston Martin, which has been without a leader since last November when Ulrich Bez retired at the age of 70.

Palmer, 51, skyrocketed to the top at Nissan ever since he joined the company’s European tech center in Cranfield, England in 1991, eventually rising to become its number 3 global executive behind Carlos Ghosn and Hiroto Saikawa assigned to oversee everything from sales and marketing to future product and its Infiniti line.

Although Nissan hasn’t announced any “full-time” replacement at Infiniti, Ghosn is optimistic that his old friend Phillipe Klein (VP at Renault) will be more than suited to fill some of the huge gap being left by Palmer’s departure, noting that this will actually be the third time Klein has worked for Nissan. He was previously in charge of the CEO office there from 1999-2003, at a time when Renault bailed out the (then) troubled Nissan. He later as corporate administrator in the CEO and COO offices for 2007 before resuming his duties at Renault, where he currently oversees the company’s product planning. This time he will begin a new at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama on September 15th, where he has been tapped to manage its global product planning, marketing, sales and zero-emissions vehicles, reporting directly to Ghosn.