MATT CAMPBELL June 08, 2012
Lotus has sacked its CEO Dany Bahar.
The man who promised at least five new models is 'terminated' by the brand.
Lotus has sacked its outspoken CEO Dany Bahar – the man who planned to build and sell at least five brand new Lotus models by 2015.
Just two weeks ago Bahar was suspended following “an operational review”. A statement released today says Bahar was “terminated” from his employment following a complaint made against him. He was sacked “with immediate effect”.
According to the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, Bahar was under investigation over a financial dispute after Lotus’s new parent company, Malaysia based DRB Hicom, discovered he was using company funds to rent two properties in Norwich in the UK.
No other Lotus staff have been suspended, and DRB Hicom has appointed Aslam Farkullah to the position of chief operating officer.
Lotus chairman and managing director of DRB Hicom, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, said in a statement: “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.”
Bahar joined Lotus in 2009 after leaving Ferrari. The colourful CEO announced ambitious plans at the Paris motor show in 2010 to launch up to six all-new cars in five years - a move met with global disbelief.
To this date - nearly two years after the announcement of the "five-year plan", as Bahar labelled it - none of the six cars have made it to production.
However, as Autocar reports, the company is still working on the development of the Esprit V8 coupe, and has developed its own engine and gearbox - seen as a critical step for the brand that wanted to do away with sourcing engines from Toyota (the brand's current cars, the Elise, Exige and Evora all use Toyota sourced powerplants).
Lotus's future has been under a cloud for some time now, and seemed darker than ever earlier this year when former parent company Proton was bought by Malaysian investment company DRB Hicom, which later enforced a spending freeze as it conducted an audit into the company's financial situation.
A few months ago the brand issued an unprecedented press release addressing the questions and speculation over the future of the brand.