Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has announced that Feng Qingfeng, vice president and chief technical officer of Geely Auto Group, has been appointed to succeed Jean-Marc Gales as chief executive officer of Group Lotus effective immediately.

Jean-Marc Gales has chosen to leave for personal reasons and will become Chief Strategic Advisor to Lotus Chairman, Daniel Donghui Li. News has also emerged that Gales will take up a new position as CEO of JD Classics, a specialist in restoring, retailing and racing premium classic cars.

Geely Holding, which acquired a controlling stake in Group Lotus in 2017, thanked Mr Gales for his contribution to the company over the past four years.

Daniel Donghui Li, chief financial officer of Geely Holding and Lotus Cars Chairman, said: "Jean-Marc has stabilised and turned Lotus to profitability for the first time in the iconic brand's history with new industry leading products and unique business models since joining the company in 2014.

"Lotus is poised for the next phase of growth under Feng Qingfeng's leadership, where its expertise in lightweight materials and sport cars-engineering will form part of the wider expansion of Geely 's automotive portfolio. At the same time I will welcome Jean-Marc's Council as Chief Strategic Advisor to myself and the Board of Directors."

Geely acquired a majority holding in UK-based Lotus – a world leader in high-performance lightweight sports cars – as part of its agreement last year to acquire 49.9 percent of the shares of PROTON from HICOM Bhd (DRB) of Malaysia, Lotus's former parent.

Feng Qingfeng said: "I am honoured to have been appointed to lead this iconic British sports car group. With Geely's global synergies and total support I am confident that Lotus has an exciting opportunity to achieve its full potential as a luxury sports brand, based around its engineering legacy and its future product pipeline."

In 2017 Group Lotus sold 1600 sports vehicles, an increase of 10% versus 2016, produced at its plant in Norfolk, England. In 2017 the company showed a profit for the first time in history, Geely says.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more