Jean-Marc Gales may have only been in his role for about 4-years, but the executive from Luxembourg managed to do what few had managed before. During his tenure as CEO, Gales had turned specialist sports car maker Lotus into a profitable brand, albeit by modest standards, and had set in motion a roadmap for the company that will see it return to its former glory, capable of standing alongside established brands like Porsche and Ferrari.
But all good things must come to an end, and Gales has left the Hethel-based firm for a new role at a classic car dealer & service network.
Taking up his old job is Qingfeng Feng, an existing board member of Lotus, following Geely’s acquisition of the brand last year. Speaking to Autocar, Gales said that his departure from Lotus was “very emotional,” and cited “personal reasons” that led him to believe that it was simply “time to move on.” On his successor, Gales said:
“[Feng] is a good guy, and a good choice. He can unlock the synergies that exist between Volvo, Lynk&Co, Polestar, and Lotus.” — Jean-Marc Gales, Former CEO, Group Lotus PLC
Gales will not be cutting ties with the carmaker entirely though, as he will remain as chief strategic advisor to chairman Daniel Donghui Li.
During his tenure, Gales achieved great successes at Lotus. He increased sales for the brand by over 30% (totalling roughly 1600/year), and made the company profitable. 2017 was the first year ever that the company managed to return a positive sum.
“I was asked in 2013 to turn the company around, and I believe that our team has achieved that. When I arrived, it was necessary to reduce the headcount by 350, to 800. Since then, we’ve hired 200 people, bringing headcount back up to 1,000 to prepare for the next waves of sports cars.” — Jean-Marc Gales, Former CEO, Group Lotus PLC
Though he’s left, the roadmap he outlined for Lotus prior to his departure will remain. As such, a ‘new Elise’ is most definitely in the pipeline, as well as a sports-SUV, which will likely share some choice traits from Geely Group headliners.