Caterham CEO Ansar Ali gets replaced by Graham Macdonald


Caterham Group, the parent company of Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Composites and CTI (Caterham Technology & Innovation) has today confirmed that Graham Macdonald, previously CFO of Caterham Cars will step up to the role of CEO after current Chief Executive Officer Ansar Ali leaves the business by mutual consent.

I tried to reach Ansar this morning, after receiving a tip-off that “..I might want to call whilst he’s still there”, but was unable to make contact. Now we know why..

Macdonald has played an active role with Ansar in helping build Caterham Cars into a core element of the Caterham Group and will now lead Caterham Cars as CEO.

Graham Macdonald, nickname ‘G’Mac’, has been at Caterham for 7 years but started his accountancy career at holiday company, Pontins, where he was an occasional bluecoat.

Ansar began his automotive career at Ford in 1991, after gaining an MBA from Manchester Business School.

He took over as General Manager of Lotus in 2000, leading the development of the Elise, until in 2005 he joined a management buy-in (MBI) becoming Managing Director of Caterham Cars Limited, who at the time were owned by the venture capitalist group, Corven.

In December 2010, Ansar approached entrepreneur Tony Fernandes and brokered Caterham’s acquisition by Team Lotus Enterprise (TLE). At the time, Ansar was relieved to receive the necessary financial backing to maintain the car maker’s aspirations, but slightly daunted by the scale of Fernandes’ aspirations.

Earlier this month, Mark Edwards, one of the founding buy-out partners in 2005 and more recently head of CTI at Caterham Cars, began operating a new company, “Niche Vehicle Services Limited”. Before this, he was at Lotus, then Corven.

We concluded at the time, this left Ansar without a key ally in the boardroom and when chairman Tony Fernandes’ promoted Mike Gascoyne (a.k.a. The Rottweiler) to Chief Technical Officer in February, the writing was on the wall for Ansar.