Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales departs for ‘personal reasons’

Replaced by Geely Group’s chief technical officer

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Lotus since 2014, has left the British sports car with immediate effect, although he will continue to work with the company in an advisory capacity.

Lotus says Gales is leaving for “personal reasons”, and has appointed Feng Qingfeng, the chief technical officer of Geely, as his successor. Last year Geely bought a controlling 51 per cent interest in Lotus from DRB-Hicom, a Malaysian conglomerate.

Although Gales is leaving to join another company, he has elected to become chief strategic advisor to Daniel Donghui Li, Lotus’ chairman.

In a prepared statement, Li thanked Gales for having “stabilised and turned Lotus to profitability for the first time in the iconic brand’s history with new industry leading products and unique business models”.

Li said Lotus is “poised for the next phase of growth” under Feng Qingfeng, who has expertise is “lightweight materials and sport cars-engineering”.

Above: Feng Qingfeng and Jean-Marc Gales.

Gales took over Lotus in 2014, and had to clean up the mess left behind by Danny Behar. Prior to this Gales served as president of PSA Peugeot Citroen, and global sales director of Daimler. He’s also worked for GM Europe, Fiat, and Volkswagen.

According to Autocar, Gales will become head of JD Classics, a classic car restorer and dealership based in Essex, England.

He told the magazine it was “a very emotional day”, but he believed it was “time to move on”. He praised his successor, saying: “He is a good guy and a good choice. He can unlock the synergies which exist between Volvo, Lynk & Co, Polestar and Lotus.”