Lotus names industry veteran Gales as CEO

Gales, pictured, will drive Lotus's turnaround thanks to his "strong technical and managerial expertise and leadership."

Auto industry veteran Jean-Marc Gales is the new CEO of the UK sports-car maker Lotus.

Gales, 51, has held high-level jobs with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Daimler, Volkswagen, BMW and Opel. Earlier this week, he stepped down as CEO of the European supplier group CLEPA.

Gales's appointment took effect May 1, Lotus's parent company, Proton Holdings, said in a statement today.

Gales will drive Lotus's turnaround thanks to his "strong technical and managerial expertise and leadership," Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah said in the statement.

Lotus has been without a CEO since Proton owner DRB-Hicom fired Dany Bahar in 2012 and cancelled his strategy to boost annual sales to 10,000 by introducing five new models. Bahar, a former Ferrari global sales and marketing director, had planned to leverage Lotus's rich history and create a brand to rival Ferrari and Porsche.

Proton said Aslam Farikullah, who has run Lotus as COO since Bahar left the company, remains as a Lotus board member and will continue to contribute to the growth of Lotus.

Gales was head of brands at PSA before joining CLEPA in April 2012.

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