Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales Steps Down, but With No Hard Feelings

The man who helped Lotus see profitability may be resigning, but he's not finished at Lotus yet. 

Lotus announced in a press release Monday that Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Gales will step down and be replaced by Feng Qingfeng (Mr. Feng), Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Geely Auto Group. This announcement comes just one year after the China-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group acquired Group Lotus.

Jean-Marc Gales says that he's leaving for personal reasons, telling Autocar that he wanted to change things up. Therefore, he will take the reigns of Suffolk-based classic car dealer JD Classics. Gales isn't done working for Lotus, however, as he'll serve as the chief strategic advisor for Lotus Chairman and Geely Chief Financial Officer Daniel Donghui Li. 

“Jean-Marc has stabilized and turned Lotus to profitability for the first time in the iconic brand's history with new industry-leading products and unique business models since joining the company in 2014," Donghui Li explained. "Lotus is poised for the next phase of growth under Feng Qingfeng’s leadership, where its expertise in lightweight materials and sports cars-engineering will form part of the wider expansion of Geely‘s automotive portfolio."

Lotus

During his four years as CEO, Gales recovered the brand after a tough spell under former boss Dany Bahar. More importantly, he helped Lotus do something it had not seen in years: Turn a profit. This came from the push for more Lotus dealerships around the world and the introduction of new, more powerful variants of the existing Elise, Exige, and Evora platforms. In 2017, Lotus sold 1,600 vehicles, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. 

Lotus

He leaves Lotus in the hands of "Mr. Feng," who will use assets from Geely's other subsidiaries to put the British brand back on top of the upscale sports car market.

“I am honored to have been appointed to lead this iconic British sports car group," Mr. Feng said. "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.”

Under Geely's guidance, Lotus aims to shoot back to the top of sports car segment and rival the likes of Porsche and more.