Lotus have been without a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for nearly 2 years, but now with the appointment of Jean-Marc Gales, they have one. He’ll be joining Aslam Farikullah, who remains as a Member of the Board of Lotus Cars Limited in the role of Chief Operating Officer.
Since Farikullah took over from ex-CEO Dany Bahar in June 2012, he’s been busy simplifying and improving the engineering side of Lotus Cars, scaling back costs (since the profligate days of Bahar) and putting the business on a more sustainable path.
But the business needs someone at the helm driving it towards new markets, delivering new models and engaging with the sporting ethos of the brand. That’s the role Gales will now take.
Gales has previously held senior positions in Daimler AG, General Motors and Volkswagen AG but more recently was Chief Executive Officer of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (“CLEPA”) since 2012. According to Lotus, “… he played a key role in streamlining the working processes of CLEPA, established a lobbying strategy with the European Parliament and European Commission, and helped define the Industry Research & Innovation Strategy and Roadmap for 2025.”
Sounds more like a COO than the CEO of a sports car company, but as they say in financial service ads, ‘past performance is no guarantee of future success’ – perhaps he’s a real car nut and will embrace the role in a more dynamic (and visible) manner than Farikullah has up until now.
Before joining CLEPA, Gales was the President of Automobiles Citroen and Automobiles Peugeot between 2009 and 2012, where he restructured the entire sales value chain and implemented a new brand strategy for the DS Line and introduced the Citroen DS in major markets around the world.
For fans of the marque searching for signs of ‘real’ development, Proton CEO Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah adds, “Jean-Marc will be able to drive the Lotus transformation plan and further enhance Lotus’ business and capabilities.”
Transformation can’t come a moment too soon for the once great Norfolk car maker, so we look forward to seeing what Gales can do.