Geely Appoints Former JLR Exec Phil Popham As New Lotus Boss

The revolving door on the top floor at Lotus headquarters in Hethel has revolved once more with the announcement of a new chief executive. This time the role will fall to Phil Popham, a British exec and veteran of Jaguar Land Rover.

Though he’s served as CEO of British yachtmaker Sunseeker for the past four years, the bulk of his experience is from JLR, where he worked for 14 years, ultimately serving as the group’s global marketing director.

In his new capacity, Popham will serve as CEO of Lotus Cars and senior vice president for commercial operations of Group Lotus. The title and responsibilities of group CEO will remain with Feng Qingfeng, who was appointed by parent company Geely in June.

That’s when the powers-that-be dismissed the company’s previous chief executive Jean-Marc Gales (earlier of PSA), who held the title since 2014 when he replaced Dany Bahar (previously of Red Bull and Ferrari). Bahar had been dismissed from his five-year tenure as Group Lotus CEO after splashing out big cash on an ambitious product revitalization campaign that has yet to be realized.

“I have spent my career working with, and have a passion for famous British luxury, high tech and pioneering brands and Lotus, with its amazing history, definitely fits into that category,” said Phil Popham upon his appointment. “I am looking forward to being part of the team that will drive the substantial future growth of the Lotus business.”

Now with a fresh cash injection from Geely and new leadership in place, we could finally see new products rolling out of Hethel to replace the aging Elise, Exige and Evora. That new lineup is set to include a new crossover for the first time in Lotus’ history, joining the likes of Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and soon Aston Martin, which have all labored to do the same in recent years.

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