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Chennai, NFAPost: Ashok Leyland has announced that after more than a decade of association with Optare Plc, John Fickling is stepping down as Chairman due to personal reasons. In his place, Optare has announced the appointment of Andrew Palmer as Non-executive Chairman.

Optare is a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland. Commenting on the developments, Ashok Leyland Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said John Fickling has played an anchor role in the stability of Optare during crucial periods as Chairman of the Board.

“I would like to thank him for his support and guidance in the last 10 years and wish him the very best in his future endeavours. The next phase of Optare’s growth is centred on expanding our electric vehicles business in the UK and many new markets,” said Ashok Leyland Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja.

Hinduja said he is 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,” he said.

Sharing his thoughts on the change of guard, John Fickling said he is delighted that Andrew Palmer is joining Optare as non-executive Chairman. 

“He has all the skills required to build Optare into a global leader in alternate propulsion. I am very proud of my association with the company thus far and am happy that it is now in the safest of hands,” said John Fickling.

Andrew Palmer is a world-renowned automotive leader, having led transformations at two of the global vehicle brands, Nissan and Aston Martin. 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.

Sharing his happiness in being appointed in the new role, Andrew Palmer commented he is excited to be joining Optare at a pivotal moment in its development.

“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,” said Andrew Palmer.

Optare is a leading British manufacturer of urban buses with a modern assembly facility on Sherburn, near Leeds, Yorkshire. The company employs more than 400 people. Its award-winning range of buses feature an integral design, zero emission electric drives and low emission efficient diesel drivetrains utilising the latest low carbon technology. The Optare Group Limited is part of Ashok Leyland, one of the world’s top three bus producers, and part of the Hinduja Group.

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