May 18 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Former Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar has served the Norfolk car maker and its new Malyasian owner DRB Hicom with a £6.7m high court claim, saying he was wrongfully dismissed.
The Swiss national was dramatically sacked in June and in papers filed this week, said that under the terms of early termination in his contract, is owed £6,737,240.
Mr Bahar, who was tasked with putting together a turnaround plan for the business when he joined Group Lotus from Ferrari in 2009, has also asked for damages and costs.
DRB-Hicom, which bought Lotus parent company Proton in January, said at the time of his departure, Mr Bahar had been removed from his post following an audit into the running of the company and an unspecified complaint against him by the conglomerate.
His dismissal paved the way for DRB-Hicom to parachute in its head of vehicle manufacturing projects Aslam Farikullah as Group Lotus chief operating officer.
The claim form filed on Mr Bahar’s behalf, through his London-based solicitor Edwards Wildman Palmer UK, has also asked for a declaration that he will be entitled to either a payment equivalent of 5pc of the “enterprise value” or the allotment of shares of equivalent value on the sale or listing on any stock exchange of Lotus Group International Ltd or any group companies.
Since the departure of Mr Bahar in June, new Group Lotus boss Mr Farikullah has kept a low profile, only giving clues about his plan for the car maker through issued statements.
Following the sale of Group Lotus there were fears production would not restart as the company struggled with mounting debts after it failed to meet certain conditions on its loan agreement with its Malaysian banking backer and since then, DRB-Hicom said it had invested an undisclosed sum into the car maker.
The latest Lotus model, the Exige S, started rolling off the production line at Hethel last month.
In a change of direction, the company said it was reviewing its marketing and promotional activity, and would not be attending the Paris motor show.
In a statement this morning, Aslam Farikullah said: ““Dany Bahar was dismissed after a comprehensive investigation into his stewardship of Lotus.
“Lotus will vigorously oppose any claim made by Mr Bahar and believes it has acted properly at all times.”