Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding), China’s leading privately-owned automotive group, has announced that Feng Qingfeng, vice-president and chief technical officer of Geely Auto Group, has been appointed to succeed Jean-Marc Gales as chief executive officer of Group Lotus effective immediately.
Jean-Marc Gales will head up the Essex-based classic car dealer and restorer JD Classics, which was recently in the news for its dispute with a customer over alleged 'fixed' classic car prices. He described JD Classics as the biggest company in its field in Europe, if not the world, with "huge potential for global expansion".
Gales also stays on at Lotus as chief advisor to its chairman of the board, Daniel Donghui Li.
Gales told Autocar UK that he was leaving for "personal reasons" and that it was "time to move on". He departs his job today and described it as "a very emotional day", adding that "Lotus has been in my heart for 50 years."
Geely Holding acquired a controlling stake in Group Lotus in 2017. Daniel Donghui Li, chief financial officer of Geely Holding and Lotus Cars chairman, said: “Jean-Marc has stabilised 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. 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 acquired a majority holding in UK-based Lotus – a world leader in high-performance lightweight sports cars – as part of its agreement last year to acquire 49.9 percent of the shares of Proton from HICOM Bhd (DRB) of Malaysia, Lotus’s former parent.
Feng Qingfeng said: “I am honoured to have been appointed to lead this iconic British sports car group. 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.”
In 2017 Group Lotus sold 1,600 sports vehicles, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2016, produced at its plant in Norfolk, England. In 2017 the company showed a profit for the first time in history.
(With inputs from Autocar UK)