John Fickling steps down as Optare Chairman; former Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer is replacement

The move comes as Optare’s parent affirms its mission to become ‘ a global leader in electric vehicles’ by leveraging its technology to ‘bring long-term stakeholder value’.

After 12 years on the board of Optare plc, John Fickling, 69, is stepping down as Chairman “due to personal reasons.”

In his place, Optare has appointed Dr Andrew Palmer (pictured) as Non-Executive Chairman.

Dr Palmer says: “I am 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.”

I am confident that under Andy’s Chairmanship we will see Optare moving to a higher growth trajectory soon.”

Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of the parent company Ashok Leyland

Says Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of the parent company Ashok Leyland: “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 Dr 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.”

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

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

John Fickling has been on the Optare board since January 2008. His 12-year tenure has seen Optare through its move into the Ashok Leyland family, the transfer of operations to its new facility in Sherburn and its first steps in electrification.  

John Fickling says: “I am delighted that Andy 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.”

Responding, Dheeraj Hinduja, says: “John 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.”


About Optare

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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