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Press release at Mike Kimberley to step down as Group Lotus CEO Chapman Report Online

The Chief Executive of Group Lotus, Mike Kimberley, announced today that he is stepping down from his role due to an ongoing back problem. An Executive Committee comprising current Group Lotus board members supported by the shareholder, Proton Holdings Bhd, will assume day-to-day control of the business until a successor is appointed.

Mike, who will be 71 in August, has been suffering from severe back pain for a number of months and underwent surgery in late 2008 which was only partially successful. His doctors have now advised him to retire so as not to jeopardize his long term health. Under these circumstances, the board has regretfully accepted his resignation.

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.”

Under Mike’s leadership, Lotus has produced the award-winning Lotus Evora, which was recently launched to the world’s press with universal acclaim. He has also overseen the expansion of Lotus Engineering, one of the world’s most respected high-technology engineering consultancy businesses. Group Lotus now has a positive and stable platform despite the global economic downturn and is delivering against its defined growth targets in the company’s strategic business plan.

Mike Kimberley said: “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. 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.”

Mike will leave Lotus on 17 July 2009.
 

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Just when things were looking hopeful for Lotus - now there is a bit of instability. And who will be able to fill Mikes shoes as well? What can this mean for the direction things have been going in.

Well I wish him the best and hope he gets better.
 

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Just when things were looking hopeful for Lotus - now there is a bit of instability. And who will be able to fill Arnies shoes as well? What can this mean for the direction things have been going in.

Well I wish him the best and hope he gets better.
:huh: Did I miss something here? I think the article read Mike Kimberly is retiring due to health complications and I didn't read anything regarding Arnie. I think things will be just fine. Sorry that MJK had to retire early :(
 

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I'm not sure 'early' is right, he is 70 after all!

MJK will be sorely missed but his influences will remain and Lotus will hopefully carry on moving from strength to strength. :)
 

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It'll be fine... I hear Rick Wagoner is available.


:p
 

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I just got the notice while on a conference call and nearly fell off my chair. I mean Mike is 71 so hes no spring chicken but he has guided the company so well with such enthusiasm for the past few years, it could be said that this was a surprise. He has had a ton of help from the community and the staff at Lotus to turn things around but he does deserve a hardy pat on the back for his efforts and obvious success in turning the company around. I did an article on him back in 2007 that may still be posted somewhere on the forum.

I doubt Arnie is going anywhere. I only hope that the new regime supports him the way Mike did.

At this point the Esprit or MSC is pretty much done and just waiting to be launched. The next Elise and Exige are also under development. The Evora program is complete for the next 5-8 years. So the real impact of the new hire will be in the managing of these new project roll-outs and the engineering and motorsport concerns (at least initially).

I hope that Proton has learned from their past mistakes and look internally to find a replacement rather than get someone from outside who doesn't understand the Lotus community. Roger Becker has been doing a heck of a job managing the day-to-day operations at Hethel for some time now and knows the engineering, motorsport and vehicle manufacturing arms of the business better than probably anyone else at the factory. His son and daughter work for Lotus and thus he has a significant interest in seeing the company succeed. He hasn't always held a warm fuzzy place for the NA market but I can't necessarily hold that against him as we have not always supported the company the way we should have either. If I had to guess, I think he is likely the front runner at this point.
 

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:huh: Did I miss something here? I think the article read Mike Kimberly is retiring due to health complications and I didn't read anything regarding Arnie. I think things will be just fine. Sorry that MJK had to retire early :(
Typo - my mind was racing :eek:
 

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i doubt roger wants to run the company. he is an engineer, and somewhat vintage.
 

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Sad day. Mike, we'll miss you. :(

But your health is more important. :up:

Good Luck in your future endeavors. :clap:
 

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MJK will be sorely missed but his influences will remain and Lotus will hopefully carry on moving from strength to strength. :)
+ 1 trillion!!!

Mr. Kimberley did an amazing job of getting Lotus back on track after a few interim guys did amazingly horrible jobs. He's been a boon to Lotus as long as he's been there, from engineer to executive.

I hope he is able to get better and enjoy a well deserved and well earned retirement.
 

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I also wonder if the factory could deal with being run by an American.
I don't think there would be a problem. Arnie's a long term member of the family. I doubt they would go far outside the Lotus family for leadership. I hope they learned their lesson from previous CEO's.
 

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It had to happen someday soon, but it's a shame it's down to ill-health.
Good luck Mike, and enjoy retirement.
 

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Not that I wish anyone ill will but I do find it refreshing for someone to leave a great company for a reason that hasn't been doctored up by PR in attempt to save face for a huge misstep or otherwise embarrassing situation. I don't really know my Lotus history but it sounds like Mike went the distance and only parted from the job when he couldn't physically do it any longer. Hopefully his successor shares that kind of devotion.
 

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true but basically he already has for the past 12 months or so.
It is an Executive Committee that has been running Lotus whilst dad was trying to recover from his back issues. This included, amongst others, Roger Becker (Engineering Director) and Luke Bennett (Prod Director).

Sadly, after getting a second and third opinion trying to put off the inevitable, dad has had to resign due to health issues. An operation he had last year was only partially successful and he may require another, meaning more months in traction.

He has been in tears over this decision as, I'm sure you're all aware, Lotus is/was his life. However, like many point out, he has done what he went there to do. Get the company on a secure footing (for the first time in 8 years), bring out a new model and have 2 more in the pipeline and make sure that the 1600 employees have jobs going into the future.

I'm sure that Arnie, being one of my dads good friends, will continue and I know my father hopes so (however I would say that my fathers replacement will come from the existing UK director team or Proton).

Dad has asked me to thank you all very much for supporting both him and the company and for your enthusiasm and love of the brand, which he shares. "Lotus's owners are the best ambassadors for the brand" he said at a recent owners meeting, "It's you that makes us what we are today and I personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving and supporting the company as much as I do".

I like to think that Colin will be proud.

Thanks guys.
 
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