LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - Dany Bahar, the chief executive who had ambitious plans for sportscar maker Lotus in Formula One and IndyCars, has been dismissed, Malaysian-owned Group Lotus said in a statement on Thursday.
Group Lotus said the decision was made by the board after an investigation into a complaint made against him by holding company DRB-HICOM Berhad.
Aslam Farikullah, 51, was appointed as chief operating officer with immediate effect.
Lotus employs more than 1,000 workers at its headquarters in eastern England.
DRB-HICOM group managing director Mohd Khamil Jamil, who is also chairman of Lotus, said the company’s Malaysian owners remained ”committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group.
“I look forward to bringing mutual benefits to not only DRB-HICOM and Proton Holdings Berhad but also the Lotus Group and its employees as well as contribute to the growth of the British automotive industry.”
Bahar previously worked in marketing for Red Bull and Ferrari and moved to Lotus after parent company Proton had agreed a deal for Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes to enter Formula One as Lotus Racing.
Bahar soon made clear he also intended to use the Lotus brand in Formula One, as title sponsor to the then-Renault outfit, a move that triggered legal action and the confusion of having two Lotus teams on the starting grid.
That confusion subsequently disappeared, with Fernandes renaming his team Caterham and Renault becoming Lotus - even though the title sponsorship with Lotus Group has ended.
DRB-Hicom bought Proton, the parent company of Group Lotus, in January. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Mehaffey)