Yes, you’ve read it right. The flamboyant Lotus CEO, Dany Bahar got suspended recently by Proton and Lotus new parent owner, DRB-Hicom after they discovered his excessive spending on renovating his rented house using company funds. Now, Group Lotus has just announced that Dany Bahar is no longer with group Lotus and now replaced by Aslam Farikullah, 51, as their CEO.
In order words, Dany Bahar just got fired by Group Lotus.
Previously employed by Red Bull and Ferrari, Dany Bahar moved to Lotus and had ambitious but crazy plans to change the struggling Lotus into a serious sports car manufacturer. This includes a 5 year plan to introduce 5 new models, developing their own engine and gearbox massive motorsports sponsorship in F1, Indycar and many forms of motorsports and so on. All is possible with the help of Proton that was owned by the Malaysian government investment arm.
However, everything changed, as 20 months after his ambitious plans was announced, Lotus has yet to launch the new Esprit (expected in 2014), Lotus is no longer sponsoring Lotus team in F1 (although they’re allowed to use the Lotus name for strange reasons), motorsports involvement were mainly a flop (see their Indycar progress) and worse of all, Proton was bought over by DRB-Hicom. With the latter who prefers to appoint their own people to manage their companies, which leads to the resignation of Proton’s leader, including Syed Zainal Abidin, who is an affiliate of Bahar, it was only a matter of time before Bahar is ousted.
DRB-HICOM group managing director Mohd Khamil Jamil, who is also chairman of Lotus, said the company’s Malaysian owners remained committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group. “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”, he added.
What remains interesting to see now is how DRB-Hicom, who owns many car marque franchises in Malaysia and turned a few brands (VM,Suzuki,Honda,Mercedes Benz) into successful enterprises, will change Lotus.
Serve you right, you’ve fired!