Dany Bahar suing Lotus for $10.6 million

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2012

Dany Bahar has filed a wrong dismissal claim against British sports-car maker Group Lotus Plc and its Malaysian parent DRB-Hicom Bhd. (DRB) for terminating him as the chief executive officer in June. In a Kuala Lumpur stock exchange filing yesterday, DRB said that the 40-year-old Bahar is asking for 6.7 million pounds ($10.6 million) in compensation from Lotus for the supposed unlawful early termination of his employment.

DRB said that Group Lotus’ lawyers in the U.K. were informed about the claim on August 23. In the filing, DRB said that Bahar was dismissed after an investigation into his stewardship of Lotus but no details were released. It said that the company believes it has “acted properly at all times.” It said that DRB and Lotus would be “vigorously” opposing and defending the claim.

DRB, which billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary controls, is making its hold on Lotus tighter after it inherited the British firm when it purchased the Malaysian taxi-and-sedan maker Proton Holdings Bhd.

Lotus terminated Bahar after it got a complaint from DRB about non-specific concerns over his behavior, according to the UK-based auto manufacturer on June 7. The Lotus website said that Bahar joined Hethel, U.K.-based Lotus as CEO in 2009 after getting recruited from Fiat SpA’s Ferrari, where he served as the senior vice president.

Before this, the Istanbul-born executive was employed at energy drink maker Red Bull GmbH and Fritz Kaiser Group. According further to the announcement, DRB and Lotus will file counter-claims against him.

DRB shares have declined by 0.4% in Kuala Lumpur as of 10:12 a.m. The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index wasn’t changed much. Lotus, which makes Elise sports cars, has faced difficulty in competing against Porsche AG and Ferrari in Europe. It has stayed relevant in the auto industry partly due to its decades-long expertise in the design of lightweight frames.

Topics: lotus, ceo, lawsuit

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