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Lotus Boss Jean-Marc Gales Quits Carmaker “For Personal Reasons”

Industry News / 10 Comments

Geely’s Vice President is now in charge of Lotus.

In a surprising move, Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales has announced he is abruptly stepping down as the British carmaker's chief executive officer for "personal reasons." Geely's vice president and chief technical officer Quingfeng Feng will replace Gales at Lotus as CEO with immediate effect after join the company's board during Geely's acquisition of Lotus last year. Speaking to Autocar, Gales said it was "time to move on" and described his last day at Lotus as "very emotional."

"Lotus has been in my heart for 50 years," he added. Gales is leaving Lotus to join JD Classics, a classic car dealer and restorer based in Essex, UK. He will remain at Lotus as Chief Strategic Advisor to the company's chairman, Daniel Donghui Li, however. Feng will certainly have some big shoes to fill. Before Gales joined Lotus in 2014, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. He helped turn the company around to make a profit for the first time in its history last year. "Jean-Marc has stabilized and turned Lotus to profitability for the first time in the iconic brands history with new industry leading products and unique business models since joining the company in 2014," said Daniel Donghui Li, chairman of Lotus.

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"Lotus is poised for the next phase of growth under Feng Qingfeng's leadership, where its expertise in lightweight materials and sport cars-engineering will form part of the wider expansion of Geely's automotive portfolio. At the same time I will welcome Jean-Marc's Council as Chief Strategic Advisor to myself and the Board of Directors." Geely oversaw the launch of several new and improved versions of the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora, which helped increase sales by a third, to around 1600 units a year. Now that Lotus is more financially stable under the control of Geely, Qingfeng will help the automaker enter a new era.

Two new Lotus sports cars will launch in 2020 followed by the company's first ever SUV. "I am honored to have been appointed to lead this iconic British sports car group," said Qingfeng. "With Geely's global synergies and total support I am confident that Lotus has an exciting opportunity to achieve its full potential as a luxury sports brand, based around its engineering legacy and its future product pipeline."