Search

Speculation over Lotus boss Dany Bahar’s future following suspension

14:30 26 May 2012

New CEO of Lotus Group PLC Dany Bahar.
Photo: Angela Sharpe
Copy: Matthew Sparkes
For: EDP/EN
Archant pics © 2009
(01603) 772434

New CEO of Lotus Group PLC Dany Bahar. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy: Matthew Sparkes For: EDP/EN Archant pics © 2009 (01603) 772434

Archant © 2009

Fresh questions surrounded the future of Group Lotus boss Dany Bahar last night as he was dramatically suspended as chief executive of the Norfolk-based car maker following a complaint into his conduct by the firm’s new Malaysian owners.

Mr Bahar, who has been in charge of the firm since October 2009, was temporarily removed from his £1.2m a year post while in Malaysia yesterday.

Bosses at DRB-Hicom, which bought the car maker’s parent company Proton in January acted following an operational review into Lotus where it was running the rule over Mr Bahar’s 10-year £200m turnaround plan to transform the company from a specialist niche car company into a profitable sports car brand.

No details of the allegations were given, but it is understood that Mr Bahar’s laptop computer was also seized and his email account suspended, however it is not believed that police have been involved.

And in a move bypassing the firm’s own press team, DRB has also called in former News of the World editor Phil Hall’s crisis management company to handle the PR linked to the suspension.

The suspension is the latest twist in the Lotus saga following the Proton sale, however DRB moved to reassure the 1200 Lotus staff - who were told of the suspension by email yesterday - that it was “business as usual”.

A spokesman for DRB-HICOM said: “As a result of a number of media inquiries, Group Lotus plc (“Lotus”) can today confirm that, following an operational review, chief executive Dany Bahar has been temporarily suspended from his role to facilitate an investigation into a complaint about his conduct made by Lotus’ penultimate parent company, DRB-HICOM Berhad.

“The penultimate holding company would like to stress it is business as usual at Lotus. We fully support the company and will continue to support Lotus in its business endeavours and development.”

The statement added that in Mr Bahar’s absence Dato’ Lukman Ibrahim, Mohd Khalid Yusof and Aslam Farikullah - who are all from Lotus’ parent company - will handle and conduct the day to day management and affairs of Group Lotus.

Lotus’ future has been up in the air following the sale of its parent company Proton to DRB-Hicom in January, amid rumours that the company could be sold to the Chinese sparking a campaign locally to keep the company in Norfolk.

And it has been a tough few months for Mr Bahar following the Proton sale, with questions raised about whether the new owners would be prepared to bankroll the loss making carmaker.

Last month he was forced to deny that he had been moving to sell the company to Chinese manufacturer China Youngman after it emerged that three days before the sale of Proton in January was announced he set up a paper company called Lotus Youngman.

Meanwhile he was named in a high court claim on February 21 in a dispute over an unpaid builder’s fee of more than £92,000. Claims documents reveal the action centres upon almost £375,000 worth of renovation work, paid for by the loss-making company, of a house rented by Mr Bahar.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who has lead the charge to keep Lotus in Norfolk and has raised the issue with the prime minister in the House of Commons, said he had no reason to believe that the move would change DRB’s commitment to the car firm or alter a pledge by the company that if a sale were to go ahead it would be on the condition that production remained in Norfolk.

“This is obviously a matter of some concern but ultimately how the parent company chooses to manage Group Lotus is a matter for them and if they have taken this decision, then so be it,” Mr Bacon said. “I am sure they know what they are doing.”

“When I met Hicom’s group managing director Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Bin Jamil I was very impressed and he struck me as a very straight forward man and someone you could do business with. I took him at his word.

“My primary concern is securing the future of the jobs and staff in Norfolk both manufacturing and engineering.”

Before the sale the government had been prepared to lend Lotus more than £10m to support its expansion plans, but this has been thrown into confusion following the sale. Although business secretary Vince Cable recently said the government was prepared to reactivate the loan deal once Lotus’ future was secured.

A spokesman for BIS said: “It is very much a commercial matter for the company. We understand from the company it is business as ususal.”

Related articles

0 comments

Other news

Yesterday, 15:13
Ben Underwood, eastern region director of the Country Land and Business Association.

Farmers and rural landowners will be given the chance to quiz general election candidates on key countryside issues at two hustings events next month.

Thu, 16:56
Harlestons new high tech toilet which costs money to use
 Picture by: Sonya Duncan

It has been one of Harleston’s biggest talking points for years, prompting much discussion and criticism including the cost of spending a penny.

Wed, 16:49
Turtle Dove at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve. Picture: Ian Burt

One of the nation’s most treasured and threatened birds could be helped by a new environmental management method trialled on East Anglian farms.

Wed, 12:03
Police are appealing for help in identifying a man they would like to speak to in connection with a theft from the Co-op store in Eye.

Police are appealing for help in identifying a man they would like to speak to in connection with a theft from the Co-op store in Eye.

Most Read

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A man has been arrested following two incidents of criminal damage at charity shops in Diss.

Read more
Mon, 18:12
Spencer Foulger

Norwich City and Ipswich Town fans united in Harleston today to say a fond farewell to a remarkable charity fundraiser.

Read more
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Norma Howell, club president, with all the potential new members

They are a group of 50 people who aim to do good in the Diss area and further afield as they also forge strong friendships.

Read more
Thu, 16:56
Harlestons new high tech toilet which costs money to use
 Picture by: Sonya Duncan

It has been one of Harleston’s biggest talking points for years, prompting much discussion and criticism including the cost of spending a penny.

Read more
Harleston
Wed, 12:03
Police are appealing for help in identifying a man they would like to speak to in connection with a theft from the Co-op store in Eye.

Police are appealing for help in identifying a man they would like to speak to in connection with a theft from the Co-op store in Eye.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 6°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today E-edition