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Veteran Lotus chief to stand down

PUBLISHED: 17:09 15 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:50 06 July 2010

Veteran Lotus chief Mike Kimberley revealed this afternoon that he will stand down at the end of the week because of ill-health.

Mr Kimberley, 70, said his doctors have insisted he retire "so as not to jeopardize my long term health" after undergoing surgery for a back problem.

Veteran Lotus chief Mike Kimberley revealed this afternoon that he will stand down at the end of the week because of ill-health.

Mr Kimberley, 70, said his doctors have insisted he retire "so as not to jeopardize my long term health" after undergoing surgery for a back problem.

Day-to-day running of the carmaker at Hethel will be taken on by an executive committee of the Lotus board until a new chief executive is appointed.

Mr Kimberley returned for a second stint as Lotus chief executive in 2006 and has overseen a revival of the carmaker's fortunes, including the launch of the new Evora last year.

Lotus has also expanded its engineering consultancy, developing a reputation as a world-leader in green engineering and lightweight chassis design.

He first joined the firm forty years ago, rising to become chief executive after the death of founder Colin Chapman in 1982.

Mr Kimberley left Lotus in the mid-1980s and held a number of high-profile international roles in the automotive industry, first with General Motors and then as president of Italian performance carmaker Lamborghini.

Today, Dato' Syed Zainal, managing director of Lotus' parent firm Proton Holdings, 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."

Mr 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."

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