It comes as no surprise to hear that Dany Bahar’s suspension from his role as Lotus CEO, has now been confirmed as a full termination.
A statement released by DRB-Hicom this afternoon confirms that he will not be returning to Hethel, following a hearing conducted to question his actions uncovered in the post-acquisition review by Ernst & Young and Rothschild.
Aslam Farikullah, one of the DRB-Hicom executives who took over from Bahar when his suspension was announced, has taken over running of the company full time – although as Chief Operating Officer (COO) his role is to maintain the day-to-day running of the business.
The role of CEO remains vacant, which is something DRB-Hicom must urgently address if it stands a chance of transforming Lotus from a vulnerable un-profitable car maker towards a more sustainable and self-sufficient future.
Media Statement: DRB-Hicom
Group Lotus plc (“Lotus” or the “Company”) can today confirm that, Mr Dany Bahar has been terminated from his employment as Chief Executive Officer of Lotus with immediate effect.
The decision was made by the Board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against him by the company’s penultimate holding company, DRB-HICOM Berhad.
The Company today also announced the appointment of Mr Aslam Farikullah as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. Mr Aslam, aged 51, has over 26 years working experience, most of which was in the automotive industry. He graduated from University of Bath, England with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Engineering. A British permanent resident, Mr Aslam and his English wife of 27 years have three children aged 26, 22 and 16.
Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, Group Managing Director of DRB-HICOM Berhad and also Chairman of Lotus said: “I would like to assure you that we remain committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group as we take the Lotus Group to the next level to remain relevant in the global automotive industry. I look forward to bringing mutual benefits to not only DRB-HICOM and PROTON Holdings Berhad but also the Lotus Group and its employees as well as contribute to the growth of the British automotive industry.”
The statement follows Bahar’s temporary suspension on 25th May, while parent company, DRB-HICOM Berhad, investigated its own complaint into his conduct.
Some have speculated that the reason for his suspension centre on an abuse of company expenses, fuelling Bahar’s extravagant lifestyle of helicopters, 5-star hotels and lavish celebrity events. Bahar countered such speculation by stating it was well within the terms of his contract, and represented nothing more than his efforts to align the profile of the Lotus brand with those of Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche.
Whilst Bahar’s high-profile lifestyle was certainly at odds with the more modest culture of his new Malaysian owners, there were far more significant reasons for Dany’s dissmissal by DRB-Hicom, which we’ve outlined in previous articles (below).
Nevertheless, despite Bahar’s climb-down from grace, DRB-Hicom still face some significant challenges, not least renegotiating the terms and duration of the covenants on Lotus’ syndicated loans. Aslam Farikullah, who takes on the day-to-day running of Lotus will be in no doubt how significant the next 60 days will be for his own career – let’s hope he receives both the support and the resources to move Lotus beyond its current predicament.