The complaint is about Bahar’s conduct, but no further details other that this, have been revealed. This action puts a stop to the speculation going on about Bahar’s future in the company. The first rumors began flying around after he missed appointments for the Monaco Grand Prix. Instead of going to the race track he was summoned in Malaysia, at the parent company’s HQ, to personally receive word of his suspension from duty.
DRB Hicom made this decision after an operational review was carried out. Already, the staff at Lotus’s Hethel, Norfolk, headquarters have been informed; the only person facing this trial is Dany Bahar alone.
As already mentioned, no detail has been made public regarding the exact motives of why he was suspended, but there are inside voices who claim he will be welcomed back in his position once the investigations are over and he will be found innocent. It is unclear at this point how long the investigation will last.
The official statement from DRB Hicom sounded like this: “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.”
On top of that statement, the Norwich Evening News cites another DRB Hicom spokesman: “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 endeavors and development.”
Until things are sorted out, the company will be led on a daily basis by Dato’ Lukman Ibrahim, Mohd Khalid Yusof and Aslam Farikulla, with the present CFO Rusman Zaihan also lending a helping hand in the routine.
A bit of history is required to have a better understanding of what Dany Bahar meant for Lotus. Back in September 2009 he joined the group having left Ferrari. Once at Lotus he began an ambitious program of making the company profitable, as well as making plans to launch as many as 6 new models. In 2010, at the Paris Auto Show all concepts were revealed.
He dubbed this course of action a 5 year plan, and it progressed along nicely since he took Lotus’ helm. A new engine has been in the works, coupled with a new transmission system; at the same time the majority of efforts went into developing one model, the Esprit. At the same time, the Evora, Exige, and Elise range have been improved.
Then, Proton sold off the brand to DRB Hicom and a few obstacles appeared. Expenditure was frozen while an audit was carried out; the 2 months passed and no clear decision was reached. On the bright side, work on the Esprit has been resumed once the freeze was over.
Let’s hope everything end well.