Phil Popham was appointed CEO of Lotus Cars in October 2018.
He joined from British superyacht maker Sunseeker International, where he was CEO from 2014, overseeing a notable period of growth and a return to profitability for the UK’s largest boat-builder.
Phil has led businesses all over the world in a career spanning more than three decades. He spent many of those years as a senior executive at Jaguar Land Rover, based in South Africa, North America and other regions. He went on to be part of the company’s global executive team that presided over the business’s turnaround, rapid growth and most successful period.
Highly respected in the global automotive industry as well as in the luxury sector, and closely associated with premium British brands, Phil has made a career turning major businesses around. He has specialised in delivering on ambitious growth plans, while promoting and protecting some of the world’s best-known brands.
Phil has instigated Vision80, a corporate strategy to transform Lotus before its 80th birthday in 2028. Through Vision80 Lotus will become a global force in performance cars, with a revolutionised product range, and a financially strong company which is fully committed to the needs of its customers, staff and stakeholders.
First car: I learnt to drive in a bright green Volkswagen Golf, bought by my parents. I can still remember the registration – PAB 136P. My favourite early car was my MkI Golf GTI.
Favourite driving road: It’s not a road, but driving along a beach and crocodile-infested river in South Africa on a media event was pretty memorable.
Most proud of: Jaguar Land Rover was strapped for cash in 2008 and there were many sleepless nights. We managed to get through that and then went on a huge growth trajectory which included launching the Evoque.
Matt Windle was appointed Executive Director, Sports Car Engineering, Lotus Cars, in July 2018.
Matt fstarted his career with Lotus in 1998 as a CAD designer. After many years away he rejoined the business in February 2017 as Chief Engineer, Body. He was promoted to the Executive team in July 2018.
Matt has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, filling senior management roles with both high and low-volume companies. He has worked internationally with brands such as Daewoo, Volvo, Tesla and Caterham.
Moving to start-up Zenos Cars in 2015 took Matt into an executive position as Operations Director responsible for Engineering and Production. He was tempted back to Lotus as Geely took control of the business.
In his current role Matt is responsible for all Lotus sports car product development and program management. This includes the all-electric Evija, managing the project through the engineering phase to production readiness.
First car: It was a Hillman Hunter. Don’t ask me why, but I hand-painted it with a brush, Dormobile blue because I was working there at the time and used their paint.
Favourite Lotus: the MK1 Elan. It’s just beautiful. I’ve never driven one, but I’d love to.
Outside Lotus: It’s exercise. I run, play football, go cycling.
Claim to fame: I’ve spent a lot of time with Elon Musk. He’s a very driven guy. I learned it’s okay to make quick decisions if it’s better than delaying.
Simon Clare was appointed Executive Director, Global Marketing, Lotus Cars in February 2019.
He is a highly experienced brand and product strategist and joined from Sunseeker International where he held the position of Marketing Director. While there he played a pivotal role in helping to turn around the business and re-establish it as Britain’s largest and most famous boat-builder.
In his 17+ years as a senior marketer, Simon has worked across several industries including at a number of the world’s best-known automotive brands, including Bentley. While there, as Head of Brand Management, he was a key part of the team that introduced the Continental family and led the transition and evolution of the company.
Simon also held the role of Land Rover brand manager at Jaguar Land Rover, where he supported the strategic positioning of the new Land Rover Defender. In addition, he has worked for the British hi-fi brand KEF and luxury boat-builder Princess Yachts.
Favourite Lotus: Lotus Elan S2 from 1965. I particularly love this version with its pure and classic design and exceptional handling.
Most proud of: Professionally, I’d say launching the Bentley Continental GT which was a game-changer, helping to revolutionise Bentley from a sibling of Rolls-Royce to a brand in its own right. I was part of the team which convinced parent company Volkswagen to prioritise a Bentley two-door coupe ahead of a four-door saloon.
Outside Lotus: I grew up sailing and powerboating, but now – even though I live by the sea – that has been taken over by walking with my wife and dog along the South Devon coast. I’m a passionate Man City fan and follow them avidly – though Norwich City FC is clearly now my second team.
Claim to fame: I was in a couple of school plays with Steve Coogan. I remember one was called Star Flaws, a comedy set in space.