Lotus CEO Bahar sacked following investigation

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Lotus Elise

The fast, light and stylish Lotus Elise. Image: Bryce Womeldurf/Flickr/CC BY-ND

Dany Bahar, the CEO of the Malaysian-owned sports and racing car maker Lotus, was dismissed Thursday following a two-week suspension and investigation into his conduct.

Formerly of Ferrari

Bahar was, who formerly worked in marketing for Red Bull and was Senior VP of Commercial and Brand at Ferrari, was tapped by Lotus, headquartered in eastern England, in 2009. He was hired on to facilitate a five year turnaround for the company. He made it three and the company is still ailing.

Unexpected expenses

He was suspended two weeks before the dismissal so that Lotus’ parent company, DRB-Hicom, could conduct a probe into why the firm was losing money. Although no specific reason was given for the dismissal, the Washington Post speculates that it is “likely related to his use of company funds to extensively refurbish his several houses.”

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At the time, the parent company said the suspension was to be temporary. According to EveningNews24, it was intended to only last long enough to “facilitate an investigation into a complaint about his conduct made by Lotus’ penultimate parent company, DRB-HICOM Berhad.”

Interim CEO named

DRB-Hicom said in a statement Thursday that it will be appointing 51 year-old Aslam Farikullah as interim CEO, effective immediately, until a suitable permanent candidate can be found. Previously, Farikullah, headed up the vehicle manufacturing division of DRB-Hicom.

Still committed, going forward

Some may question the viability of the loss-making company going forward, but Mohd Khamil Jamil, managing director of DRB-Hicom, 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 [company] 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 contributing to the growth of the British automotive industry.”

Proton was the name of the company that previously owned Lotus. It was bought in January by DRB-Hicom.

Lotus employs nearly 1,200 workers at its headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk.

Second CEO in a year

Ernst Lieb, the former CEO of Mercedes-Benz, was also dismissed for excessive spending last October. He had been with the firm for five years.


Washington Post 

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