Proton Holding Names Gales to Head Lotus Sports-Car Unit

Proton Holding Bhd. appointed Jean-Marc Gales as the chief executive officer of its Group Lotus Plc sports-car unit, almost two years after firing previous chief Dany Bahar.

Gales, 51, who was previously CEO at the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, took charge effective May 1, Lotus, based in Norfolk, England, said in a statement today. Aslam Farikullah, a DRB-Hicom (DRB) Bhd. executive who’s been running Lotus as chief operating officer since 2012, will continue on the board of Lotus Cars Ltd., according to the statement. Proton is a member of the DRB-Hicom group.

DRB, controlled by billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, has been trying to restructure the unit after inheriting the British company through its purchase of taxi-and-sedan maker Proton in 2012. Bahar, who became CEO in 2009 after being recruited from Fiat SpA’s Ferrari, was suspended in May 2012 amid a five-year plan to turn around Lotus.

Gales, who holds a master degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany and a degree in management from Imperial College in London, has also held positions at Daimler AG, General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG, according to the statement.

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