Dame Natalie Massanet, the founder of the luxury fashion website Net-a-Porter, has become a director of Aston Martin as part of a shake-up designed to help restore the carmaker’s upmarket credentials and meet requirements to have more women in the boardroom.
The US-born 56-year-old, who was awarded an honorary damehood in 2016 for services to the fashion and retail industries, was unveiled as one of a trio of new directors brought in by Aston’s chairman, the handbag billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
The appointments mean Aston meets recommended levels for listed companies to have women making up a third of their board, a challenge in the notoriously male-dominated car industry.
Mr Stroll, a Canadian Formula 1 fan who also made his fortune with brands including Michael Kors, plans to make Aston “one of the greatest luxury car brands in the world”, helped by only building cars to order, to maintain their exclusivity.
He became the carmaker’s biggest shareholder last year when he engineered a £500m rescue deal less than two years after it floated on the stock market. Aston, best known as James Bond’s preferred mode of transport, had hit financial trouble after investing heavily in a new model.