Ansar Ali

Years ago Caterham was just another kit-car company making "continuation" examples of the Lotus Seven. Now it's got its own LMP-style track car on the market, a new road car on the way, its own Formula One team, a composites division and an engineering consultancy. So who do you credit for the transformation? Ansar Ali. But he's on his way out.

Ali took over as managing director of Caterham in 2005 after he and his partners bought out the founders, and proceeded to expand the operation into the burgeoning conglomerate it is now. Last year, however, the company was taken over by Tony Fernandes, who paired it with what was then known as the Lotus F1 team (now branded as Caterham).

Despite Ali and Fernandes appearing to work well together since the change in ownership, Caterham has announced Ali's departure - ostensibly "by mutual consent", according to the announcement below. In his place, former CFO Graham Macdonald steps up as chief executive.
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Caterham Group Announces Graham Macdonald As New CEO Of Caterham Cars

19th June 2012
Caterham Group, the parent company of Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Composites and CTI (Caterham Technology & Innovation) has today confirmed that Graham Macdonald, previously CFO of Caterham Cars will step up to the role of CEO after current Chief Executive Officer Ansar Ali leaves the business by mutual consent.

Graham has played an active role with Ansar in helping create Caterham Cars into its modern-day guise as a core element of the Caterham Group and will now lead Caterham Cars as CEO.

Ansar will leave his post as CEO after leading Caterham Cars following a management buy-in which assumed control of the business in 2005 from the Nearn family who originally founded Caterham Cars. Ansar oversaw a program which initiated a fundamental shift in the engineering focus of the business, a move which revitalised the legendary Seven range. He also oversaw the long-term stability of Caterham Cars, building on its historic spirit of innovation, entrepreneurial endeavour with a core motorsport base and dedicated to the notion of serving the 'unserved', making racecar performance accessible to everyone.

Ansar has now decided to move on to new challenges and Caterham Group thanks him for the integral role he played in building Caterham Cars into a globally respected automotive brand and helping form Caterham Group in its present-day guise. Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group Chairman, said: "I want to take this chance to thank Ansar for everything he has done for the Caterham brand over many years. Without his leadership Caterham Cars would not be the world renowned, profitable business it is today and we would almost certainly not be working under the Caterham name if he had not initiated the discussions with us that led to the enviable position Caterham finds itself in today.

"Now we move on to the next phase of the expansion of Caterham Group and Caterham Cars. Graham is the perfect person to take over and lead the company and his experience and dedication will help us make a smooth transition into the next chapter of the Caterham Cars story."