Lotus has confirmed the immediate termination of Dany Bahar from his position as Lotus Group Chief Executive Officer in response to an investigation.
A statement from Lotus says, “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.”
Bahar’s dismissal follows his May 2012 suspension related to the in-house investigation, suggested by The Telegraph to relate to the claiming of expenses.
After joining Lotus from Ferrari in 2009, Bahar was instrumental in seeing the Lotus name back into the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One, and pushed the brand’s expansion with a five-model plan that included a new Lotus Elan (pictured below), Lotus Elise and Lotus Esprit.
Bahar told CarAdvice in September 2011 that his original plan to launch five new cars had been altered to four as a result of delays associated with the Lotus Elan.
Lotus will be hoping the firing of Bahar brings to a close a string of difficulties the brand has endured in recent times. In early April with financial woes becoming a growing concern, Group Lotus terminated its sponsorship agreement with the Lotus F1 team – the team continues to race on despite the branding irony – publically highlighting the brand’s monetary issues.
Less than a week later Lotus involved itself in what became one of the worst public relations episodes seen when a statement was posted on its Lotus Cars Facebook page that was intended to defend the brand against negative news in regards to poor fiscal and managerial management but degenerated into a personal attack against specific members of the media. Bahar’s suspension followed just a month later.
At the same time as announcing Bahar’s exit, Lotus appointed 51-year-old Aslam Farikullah as the company’s Chief Operating Officer effective immediately.
With hesitation abounding relating to the marque’s survival, DRB-HICOM Berhad (part owners of Lotus along with Proton) Group Managing Director and Chairman of Lotus, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, 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.”
Watch this space.