British sports-car maker Lotus now has a new chief executive in the persona of Jean-Marc Gales, who was previously connected with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Daimler, Volkswagen, BMW and Opel. Most recently, he was CEO of the European supplier group CLEPA.
The appointment was effective May 1, 2014., according to Lotus' parent Proton Holdings. Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah remarked that Gales will help Lotus achieve as he holds "strong technical and managerial expertise and leadership."
The CEO post had been vacant at Lotus since Proton owner DRB-Hicom dismissed Dany Bahar in 2012 and voided his strategy of boosting annual sales to 10,000 by launching five new models. Bahar had intended to leverage Lotus' heritage and create a brand that would compete Ferrari and Porsche.
Proton said in a statement that Aslam Farikullah, who worked as Lotus’ chief operating officer since Bahar’s firing, will still sit a Lotus board member and will still contribute to sports car maker’s growth. Gales holds a MSc in Management from Imperial College of London, and a MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.
Proton Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah is pleased to welcome Gales to the Group. "This is an exciting time for Lotus, and Jean-Marc's appointment could not have come at a more appropriate time, especially taking into account our plans for Lotus. We believe that with his strong technical and managerial expertise and leadership, Jean-Marc will be able to drive the Lotus transformation plan and further enhance Lotus' business and capabilities.” [source: Lotus]