Lotus CEO: Dany Bahar, former executive at Ferrari. Lotus CTO: Wolf Zimmermann, former technical officer for Mercedes-Benz AMG. Lotus Head of Design: Donato Coco, former design chief at Ferrari.
Does this seem to bring you up to speed on what Lotus has up its sleeve? Well, if that didn’t, take this into consideration: they’ve just hired Guillaume Chabin, Ferrari’s former General Manger, to be their director of sales. Oh, and they also nabbed Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, a BMW exec who “provide operational support and advise Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar on the most efficient delivery of the business plan.”
So Lotus has picked up three major executives from Ferrari, one from AMG and another from BMW… Interesting. If you couldn’t see where they were going before now, you’ll certainly get it now, I’m sure.
Mr. Kalbfell has been the CEO of Maserati, executive director of BMW, COO of Alfa Romeo and served as the CEO of Rolls-Royce.
Mr. Chabin has been an executive at Ferrari, and before that was an executive working to help bring Bentley back to its high-class status.
This isn’t counting the addition of Bob Lutz, former BMW, GM, Chrysler, Ford and Opel executive, as well as BMW’s former executive and Rolls-Royce CEO, Tom Purves, as supervisory board members.
Is this a Lotus we should be excited about, or should we tread lightly with trepidation? Could the brand survive as the small automaker of old, or do they have to adapt and become a competitor to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, etc.?
New Additions to the Lotus Line-Up
Lotus add to expertise with two further appointments: industry leader Karl-Heinz Kalbfell and former Ferrari General Manager (EMEA), Guillaume Chabin.
With an unrivaled pedigree in the automotive industry, Karl-Heinz Kalbfell makes a welcome addition to the Group Lotus management team. Based at the Lotus headquarters in Hethel, Kalbfell, formerly of the BMW Group, will provide operational support and advise Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar on the most efficient delivery of the business plan.
In addition to Kalbfell, Lotus has appointed Guillaume Chabin as Director of Sales. Chabin held senior positions at Ferrari and prior to this he was involved in the re-launch of Bentley.
Commenting on the appointments, Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “We are very pleased to have both Karl-Heinz and Guillaume on board. One of the keys to the success of any business is having exceptionally talented people working together effectively, and Karl-Heinz has incredible experience from working in extremely senior positions throughout the automotive industry to bring to the table – he has proven time and time again to have the qualities necessary to succeed in a difficult and fickle industry. His main role initially will be to bring together all our existing efforts across the departments and ensure that we are working effectively as a united force. It’s not enough to have a great business plan on paper, we need to deliver, Karl-Heinz will play a crucial role in making this happen.”
“Having worked with Guillaume previously, I’m fully aware of his capabilities – his business skills and understanding of the vision we have for Lotus complement our existing management line-up perfectly.”
Karl-Heinz Kalbfell said: “I’ve been aware of Lotus over the years and like many in the industry, I have watched with growing interest as Lotus has developed under Dany Bahar and his team. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to work with such an iconic automotive brand at such an exciting stage of its development and I really feel that now is the perfect time for me to contribute towards the future of Lotus. I have many years and some very demanding positions under my belt which allow me a lot of experience to draw upon. I’m ready for all the challenges that Lotus will bring.”
Commenting on his new role, Guillaume Chabin, Director of Sales for Lotus Cars, said: “Joining Lotus was an easy decision for me to make – having previously been involved in the re-birth of an iconic British brand when I was working at Bentley, I know the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead – this is a crucial time for Lotus and I’m very happy to be on board.”