Jean-Marc Gales

It's been about two years since DRB-Hicom took over Proton, and through it Lotus. One of its first courses of action was to fire the existing CEO, Dany Bahar, and proceed to scrap most if not all of his (arguably over-) ambitious plans. In his place they put one of their own – Aslam Farikullah – as Chief Operation Officer, but now the Malaysian-owned British automaker has attracted an industry heavyweight to lead it into the future.

That heavyweight is Jean-Marc Gales. The British- and German-educated Luxembourgian has spent the past couple of years running the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), but may be better known for his previous posting as CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën between 2009 and 2012, during which time he introduced the Citroën DS line, amongst others, and increased the French automaker's sales. Before PSA he worked for Daimler, General Motors and Volkswagen.

As the new Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, Gales will face the difficult task of growing a business based on three models – the Elise, Exige and Evora – that date back to 1996, 2000 and 2009, respectively. Whether he'll push for new models like his predecessor did remains to be seen, but he'd be wise to learn from Bahar's mistakes and avoid overextending what has always been a relatively small automaker.
Show full PR text
PROTON APPOINTS NEW LOTUS CEO

PROTON Holdings Berhad ("PROTON") today announced the appointment of Jean-Marc Gales as the new Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus plc, effective 1 May 2014. Lotus is a wholly owned subsidiary of PROTON and a member of the DRB-HICOM Group.

Gales, a Luxembourgian, holds an MSc in Management from London's ImperialCollege, and an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.

A known industry player, Gales has held several significant positions with numerous global automotive manufacturers. Prior to his new appointment at Lotus, Gales was Chief Executive Officer of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers ("CLEPA") since 2012, where he played a key role in turning around the association through various strategic initiatives, including streamlining the working processes and increasing corporate members from 82 to 112. Gales also established a lobbying strategy with the European Parliament and European Commission, and helped define the Industry Research & Innovation Strategy and Roadmap for 2025.

Before joining CLEPA, Gales was the President of Automobiles Citroen and Automobiles Peugeot between 2009 and 2012, where he restructured the entire sales value chain and implemented a new brand strategy for the DS Line and introduced the Citroen DS in major markets around the world. During his tenure there, the Company delivered record retail sales in 2009 and 2010.

Gales' other previous appointments include several senior positions in Daimler AG, General Motors and Volkswagen AG.

Aslam Farikullah, current Chief Operating Officer of Group Lotus plc, remains as Member of the Board of Lotus Cars Limited and will continue to contribute to the growth of the business in the future.

Jean-Marc Gales and Aslam Farikullah

PROTON Chief Executive Officer, Dato' Abdul Harith Abdullah is pleased to welcome Gales to the Group. "This is an exciting time for Lotus, and Jean-Marc's appointment could not have come at a more appropriate time, especially taking into account our plans for Lotus. We believe that with his strong technical and managerial expertise and leadership, Jean-Marc will be able to drive the Lotus transformation plan and further enhance Lotus' business and capabilities."

Jean-Marc Gales is married and has one daughter.