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Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley to step down

Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley to step down

Lotus says its long-time CEO, Mike Kimberley, is to step down with almost-immediate effect due to health problems.

Kimberley, 71, underwent surgery in late 2008 for a long-standing back problem, and has been forced to retire on medical advice.

An Executive Committee comprising current Group Lotus board members supported by shareholder Proton, will assume day-to-day control of the business.

Dato’ Syed Zainal, Managing Director of Proton Holdings Bhd, said: “It is a great shame that Mike’s health has forced his departure earlier than any of us would have liked. He has been a great asset to Lotus over four decades.

"Since his return in 2006, we have seen a huge turnaround in the fortunes of this great company. He leaves Lotus with our deep gratitude and our very best wishes for his retirement."

As CEO, Kimberely has overseen Lotus' expansion with the Evora and Europa models, while the company also has negotiated tricky trading conditions. It is currently under de facto ownership of Proton.

Kimberley initially joined Lotus in 1969, and has worked for Jaguar, Lamorghini and Tata since.

Lotus has recently moved into producing body shells for the Tesla Roadster electric vehicle, and is developing its own electric cars. The company is also renowned for its performance engineering expertise, and works with several global manufacturers.

Lotus is currently in the middle of a five-year development plan, initiated by Kimberley in 2006.

“Sadly, it is on doctor’s orders that I am stepping down but I will leave confident that Lotus is in great shape with a strong management team fully supported by our shareholder in Malaysia," said Kimberley.

"It’ll be very hard to leave knowing that there are such exciting times ahead but I’ll take with me many very happy memories. I want to extend my thanks to the company’s shareholder for their unfailing support, my management team and the wonderful staff both at Hethel and at our various operational locations throughout the world.

"Most of all I want to thank our Lotus customers and loyal fans worldwide for their support over the years."

Kimberley will leave Lotus on 17 July 2009.