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Lotus boss Dany Bahar suspended
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Dany Bahar
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 May 2012   |  6:37 pm GMT  |  56 comments

Dany Bahar, the CEO who brought Lotus Cars back to F1 as a sponsor of the Lotus F1 team, has been suspended by the new owner of the parent company DRB-Hicom, it was confirmed today.

The suspension relates to Bahar’s “conduct” but no further details have been forthcoming at this stage.

Bahar came to prominence as Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s right hand man, with responsibility for the racing programme and marketing. He then went to Ferrari as head of brand, before joining Lotus just after they had struck a licence deal with Tony Fernandes for the 1 Malaysia team to be called Lotus. This led to a battle which was only resolved last year, with Fernandes ceding the Lotus name and Bahar bringing it to F1 first as sponsor of the team and then in 2012 as the chassis name. However the relationship between Lotus Cars and the F1 team has been downscaled recently.

Bahar had an ambitious plan to build a range of Lotus sports cars in Norfolk, funded by Proton, but now the new owner of Proton, DRB-Hicom, has suspended him,

“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,” a DRB Hicom statement said.

“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 endeavours and development.”

There has been no reaction as yet from the Lotus F1 team.

Bahar was due to be at a presentation of luxury apparel brand Lotus Originals in Monaco this evening, and was scheduled to make a speech at the event.

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56 Comments
  1. Matt says:

    Lotus is constantly in the news at the moment. It makes you wonder how much longevity there is to the team currently called Lotus. In my opinion it won’t be long before we have a different title sponsor for the Enstone squad.

    1. Phil R says:

      When they named their car the E20, that made me think they knew back then that Lotus might not be a longterm partner…

  2. Femi Akinz says:

    Damn!

    That’s cold. He has more or less been fired.

    Can’t see a multinational suspending then reinstating him.

    I”don’t know what to say as was never impressed by him.

    1. Erik says:

      A taste of his own medicine maybe?

      This bloke always looked shonky, rememher his poor behavior (I.e. Aggressive and rude tactics) against Tony Fernadez’s team?

      You live by the sword you die by the sword I guess. Can’t say I’ll miss him, although his vision for Lotus cars was inspiring.

      1. James Allen says:

        Shonky? That’s a new one on me. Aussie word?

      2. forzaminardi says:

        Bah James, “shonky” is Scottish!

      3. AuraF1 says:

        I think it’s Aussie but heard it in the uk a lot – a mix of shoddy and wonky – basically unreliable crap.

        Could apply I wouldn’t like to speculate. Ha!

      4. Nick the Hippy says:

        Common in Aus.

      5. Don says:

        Shonky = crooked, poor quality or someone who is shifty & not to be trusted

      6. Greenmeanie says:

        Shonky , Dodgy, Shifty,dishonest………..

        You know us Aussies James, why use several words when one can cover it :)

        Shonky.

      7. hero_was_senna says:

        I wonder how much influence Mr Fernandez has within the Malaysian corporate world.
        He always comes across as a nice guy, but to achieve his level of success isn’t done without a hard edged business side to him.

        Malaysia Air is successful, something that Mallya is having trouble achieving with Kingfisher airlines.

        I wonder if this is retribution for the court case over the Lotus naming rights.

        It always made me question, how in the 21st century, a small car manufacturer from Norfolk could go head to head with the F1 giants, sign into GP2, GP3, Indycars, Le Mans and probably any other form of motorsport.

      8. Craig says:

        To clarify a couple points about the airlines mentioned.

        Reported of Kingfisher Airlines, most recently 4 days ago:-

        ‘Non-payment of service tax dues is a serious offence as it amounts to diversion of public money or tax revenue already recovered by the airline from the passengers or other parties for depositing with the government.

        Kingfisher Airlines has been facing financial troubles for almost a year now. The airline, which never made a profit since its inception in May 2005, reported a net loss of Rs444.26 crore in the December 2011 quarter.

        It suffered a loss of Rs1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a debt of Rs7,057.08 crore. Due to paucity of funds, the air carrier now operates only 110 flights a day with a fleet of 20 aircraft as against 400 flights per day last year with 66 planes.

        The airline had a 6.4% market share in March, and was ranked below the budget carrier GoAir, which cornered 7.5% market share in the same period’.

        Malaysia Airlines:-
        It is reported Malaysia Airlines has for many years reported losses.

        ‘The year 2011 being reported as a ‘stunning’ net loss of RM 2.52 billion’.

      9. Mimie says:

        in reply to Craig … Tony Fernandez company is Air Asia not Malaysian Airline

      10. Craig says:

        In reply to Mimie…

        I am fully aware with regard to ownership.
        My reply was to Hero Was Senna whose original post noted ‘Malaysia Air’.

        It was difficult to define exactly which firm his post was about.

        Of course Mr Fernandes [with an S] is CEO of AirAsia and recently a non executive board member of Malaysian Airlines [MAS].

        AirAsia who through significance finance resource have year on year embarked on rapid growth expansion.

        Again, Hero Was Senna stated this as ‘successful’.
        I guess it depends the definition of business ‘success’ with regard to a firm either continually returning profit or returning profit to service any level of debt.

        Again, business ‘success’ would require to be defined.
        I would strongly suggest that you read AirAsia balance sheet which is widely, publicly available.

        If you need any assistance with regard to the significant debt and future capital commitments reported, what these actuals actually mean, please do not hesitate to reply to me.

        Of course, the record confirms Mr Fernandes of AirAsia is a registered accountant.

        The record also confirms RyanAir, a European low cost carrier [LCC] also has an accountant as CEO, Mr David O’Leary.

    2. folkdisco says:

      You can only wonder why it took them so long to figure out. The numbers haven’t made any kind of sense since DB took over. I mean, very few numbers in F1 make any kind of sense, but road car manufacturing companies are usually based on some kind of reality. So many livelihoods are at stake here, and the Lotus brand could have enormous value with the correct management. You can only hope that things work out ok for the good people in Norfolk.

  3. CTP says:

    i’ve no reason to be a fan of bahar, judging by all the negative press surrounding him, but this seems a like a convenient “out” to avoid having to pay him his alleged substantial royalty in the event the company is finally sold on…

    1. Brodie says:

      Yes, this is the first thing that struck me too. If Bahar leaves it should be with nothing, like the Lotus employees who could be sacked as a result of his grandiose plans. Over a 1000 Norfolk jobs hang in the balance. I can never forget the public statements (most of which later proved to be wrong) which that man and his PR staff made during their attempts to wrest the Team Lotus name from that company.As someone else said: “Live by the sword….”

  4. Interesting.

    I guess my plans for a Lotus-sponsored go-kart team won’t come to fruition. What’s the difference between a Lotus-sponsored Dallara or Lola, and a Lotus-sponsored Birel or TonyKart? ;-)

    I also assume that the diatribe on Lotus’ Facebook page didn’t quite foresee this event… or I wonder if it precipitated it?

  5. Crusty says:

    Murky, murky, murky.

    Where are all those investigative journos who in the public interest search fearlessly to expose the truth?

  6. Andrew Carter says:

    Can’t realy say I’m surprised, he’s spent a lot of money with nothing to show for it.

  7. franed says:

    Perhaps forming and being a director and shareholder of a company ready to facilitate a Chinese takeover is poor conduct.

    The Lotus Youngman UK Automotive Company ltd. Company reg number 7909455. With Bahar and one other being the sole owners and directors it seems to be ready to do a side deal under the table with Youngman Autos. The new owners might be a bit miffed about that sort of thing. Even if it does get sold to the Chinese I doubt DRB-Hicom plan to do it via Mr Bahar.

    1. Aaron Gardner says:

      Just to clear up what a company director role is, they run the company for the share holders who in turn own the company, you can have as many director’s as you like, but they do not own the company, when you run a check on a company only the director’s are listed and not the share holder’s.

      As for Bahar he has got what he deserves, he publicly slated Tony Fernadez, first rule in any business is what goes around comes around

  8. andrew says:

    Like Adam Parr at Williams, we may never know what caused these two recent schisims.

  9. KGBVD says:

    I am not surprised. [mod] F1 always attracts these types, they just usually don’t make it so far up the totem pole (e.g. Peter Windsor). There’s only room for one at the top, (*ahem, Bernie).

    I hope this guy is happy with himself, [mod]

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I understand the sentiment, but every industry has these types.
      These types generally only care about themselves and the acquisition of money.

  10. Rich C says:

    Uhoh!
    Maybe that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” thing doesn’t work in Monaco!

  11. Richard B. says:

    more negative new on lotus. i really want the company to succeed, especially in F1, but unless somebody with big pockets and brilliant organization skills i doubt they will.

    entering indycar so quickly wasn’t smart. they should’ve gone to cosworth too, after all that’s what colin chapman did and they made the brilliant dfv engine. it’d be another heritage tie.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Yes, and Chapman made light cars even more fragile because if they didn’t fall to pieces crossing the line they were too well built. That would be heritage huh?

      I’m sure Cosworth would love to be in F1 again, but I can’t imagine Williams will be rushing back, the games moved on.

      1. Richard B. says:

        at what point did i suggest they make a fragile car? it’s a foolish idea and largely responsible for the drivers who died in his cars.
        i was suggesting they used cosworth for indycar.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        misunderstood the indycar connection, sorry

  12. Krishna says:

    Ouch Danny..what does this mean for Lotus?

  13. What goes around comes around

  14. Richard says:

    I wonder if this is to do with the interview he gave in TopGear magazine this month. He was very pleased that the road car development program had been freezed by the owners.

  15. James Alias says:

    I feel like saying, “Good Riddance!”

  16. Charanjit Sandhu says:

    This is a real shame. Bahar was someone who had a vision. He had come a long was in reestablishing Lotus as a premier brand. British manufacturing would be well served with more individuals like Bahar: someone who believed in England and felt that we could produce some of the worlds most innovative and exciting products.

    1. Jordan says:

      Dany is that you?

    2. barrels says:

      INCOMING!!

    3. forzaminardi says:

      You mean someone[mod] allowing his ego to overcome reality? Nothing wrong with the desire to re-establish Lotus as a premier brand, or with believing in British manufacturing and their products being innovative. Unfortunately Bahar [mod] was entirely failing to make Lotus a premier brand (premier laughing stock, perhaps) and the products were neither innovative, nor to be made in Britain if he’d had his way.

    4. Brodie says:

      I always enjoy irony and sarcasm. Thanks for that!

  17. Charan says:

    HI James

    I accidently left my full name on the previous post – can you reduce it to Charan

    1. thomas says:

      Hell no, google is our friend ;)

  18. Aaron James says:

    Goodbye Dany Bahar [mod]

    Is there anyone in F1 that likes this bloke?

  19. SP says:

    L ots
    O f
    T rouble
    U sually
    S erious

  20. Lynn says:

    Lotus F1 Team should just renamed itself to Enstone Racing.

  21. Kay says:

    LOL
    There is never a lack of surprises in Formula 1.

  22. JohnBt says:

    He seems like a trouble maker IMHO.

  23. Wade Parmino says:

    I think Colin Chapman would rather the LOTUS name cease to exist than become the ridiculous circus it has been these last few years.

    It is such a shame as the LOTUS name has always been so iconic in F1, especially in the 70′s.

  24. moxlox says:

    It’s going to be ironic when Lotus (nee Enstone) win the Monaco Grand Pix on Sunday! Hehe

    1. Mike says:

      Was that Sunday 2013 or 2014?

  25. Lawrence says:

    I liked the way Lotus was heading or certainly the use of the Lotus name. It would be nice to their roadcars bearing some resemblance to the F1 cars e.g. black and gold livery etc. More info James? Can’t throw up the news and then not give an opinion on it. ;).

  26. Mr Peabody says:

    It’s a good sign for what is left of Lotus that the new owners are getting his fingers out of their pockets and doing this publicly. I had hoped it would be Tony that would toss him out in the street but this works.

    Then continue with axing his programs such as the Lotoghini bloatmobile and then concentrate on the good stuff that Lotus can do.

  27. Jonathan says:

    Hi James and all,
    does anyone have an update on Bahar’s presentation and speech from yesterday?
    Cheers!

  28. Jack says:

    THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS AT LOTUS

    If my surname was Fernandez, Gascoyne or Saward I’d find this quite amusing…

  29. someone says:

    Bahar, the one that made Lotus build 1.5 tons Grand Turismo cars again (which GM once tried, effectively ruining Lotus), putting them into competition with Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and loads of other rich and established car makers already present in that market niche, ditching their USP completely?
    Bahar, who is responsible for employing loads of rejects as “Lotus drivers” as publicity stunt, same as sponsoring a team in almost every series in the world, also leading Lotus into that Indy Car engine desaster? The same Bahar that is reponsible for the mess with Fernandes’ team?

    Well, I guess they finally realized he was a show-off. Well done. Better late than never. I hope the damage he has caused can be repaired in time.

  30. BraconAsh144 says:

    Dany Bahar clearly had an eye on his own financial future, with the pre-emptive set-up of the Lotus Youngman company (just in case eh…?) & what appears to be property developing on his Lotus expense account (to the tune of half a million pounds..!) on one of his 2no Lotus rented Norfolk homes…(rented property…?) Interesting to know what the property freeholder has to say about this…? “deal’s off now you’ve done all the work for me” probably.

    The current Proton MD appointed in early 2009 has to shoulder complete responsibility for Bahar’s employment & getting the huge amounts of money from the Malaysian banks (with no-one overseeing the then new Lotus CEO’s operation it appears), who rightly are now very nervous…When does the revenue begin to roll in via new car models, in order to commence repayment…?

    PR-wise Bahar’s tenure has been a disaster, the Tony Fernandes/Team Lotus courtcase, subsequent press-releases, tie-in’s with musicians, celeb’s, Lotus Originals clothing (Club Lotus Show 2014 at Donnington, it will all be on clearance sale at 50-75% discount just as previous Lotus clothing ranges have been over the years) & people with titles such as “Vice President Corporate Affairs” & “Creative PR Manager” have done nothing for the brand or marque really…have they…?

    Hopefully DRB-Hicom will realise they still have a stellar Board Of Directors though, ex Porsche, Aston Martin, AMG-Mercedes men, very talented & capable people who seemed to have been dumped with Donato Coco’s unengineerable, too-hastily designed new models. I would like to see Wendelin Wiedeking approached if only in the short-term, a proper car-engineer who could lead the company & also very capably deal with the finances.

    Motorsport-wise, Group Lotus has no business in F1 or IndyCar. GT racing that promotes the current product line…yes. Global single-seater/badge-engineered/free use-of-name-rights/ego-driven-desperate-Paddock-Club- membership…no.

    The final irony is that Dany Bahar was a marketing man, a brand specialist (never a car production man), he is the guy who put a Ferrari teddybear in every Shell filling station, licensed the exceedingly dull Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi yet his attempts to “raise brand exposure” of Lotus as a sportscar producer have come to nothing, the new Esprit is sat there ready to go into production I believe, but just where has all the money gone….? The £200+ million loan was for 3-5no new cars….so far there is nothing to show & no public clambering to buy Lotus product, not after all this chaos.

    It’s a mess, & I think it is only just beginning.

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