Senior Management

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Phil Popham
CEO, Lotus Cars

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.

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Feng QingFeng
CEO, Group Lotus

Feng QingFeng was appointed CEO of Group Lotus in June 2018. He is also Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Geely Auto Group. He is responsible for the establishment and management of R&D systems and product strategic planning. He oversees Geely’s Market Strategy Centre, Technology Management Department, Geely Automobile Research Institute, plus Geely Components and Parts Development Centre. Mr Feng has led the organisation in the promotion of scientific and technological innovation, enhanced Geely’s technical strength and global R&D capability, and helped Zhejiang Geely Holding Group become a globally competitive automotive group.

Since joining Geely Group in 1999, Mr Feng has worked in sales, manufacturing, project management and R&D, among other areas. He has held multiple key positions, including General Sales Manager, Deputy General Manager of Geely’s Ningbo branch, and Head of the Geely Automobile Research Institute. He led the development and production of Geely’s Emgrand EC7, as well as designing its supply chain system.

Mr Feng holds a degree in Fine Chemistry from the East China University of Science and Technology. In addition, he completed the EMBA program of Tsinghua University in August 2006.

What was your first job?

It was when I was a student in Shanghai and I worked doing promotion for a shopping mall. I designed the publicity poster and then distributed it to residential areas. My pay was based on performance, so I got paid more if more customers came after my poster was created. I didn’t make much money!

What was your first car?

It was 1998 and it was a Haoqing 6360. It was the first car from Geely Group, and I was the sales general manager at the time.

What is your favourite Lotus?

I have been very excited about the old Lotus racing cars, particularly the black and gold JPS, but I’m very fond of the Esprit S1. You can place it side by side with any car on sale today and it doesn’t show its age. It’s still full of modernity.

Where would want to drive that Esprit – what’s your favourite road?

The road outside Hethel is very twisty. I’ve driven that and enjoyed it very much.

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Geoff Dowding
Executive Director, Sales and Aftersales

Geoff Dowding was appointed Executive Director for Global Sales and Aftersales in April 2019.

His responsibilities include overall commercial management and development of the Lotus business, including sales planning and performance, and engagement and development of the retail network.

Geoff joined Lotus from Al Habtoor Motors, one of the largest automotive distributors in the United Arab Emirates where he was Chief Operating Officer.

In a 40-year automotive career Geoff has held a variety of senior roles with global brands including Volkswagen, Nissan, Porsche, Harley-Davidson and Bentley.

During his 18 years with Bentley he played a pivotal role in the redevelopment of the specialist Mulliner business, and in establishing the brand’s expanding retail network around the world, especially China.

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Simon Clare
Executive Director, Global Marketing

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.

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Russell Carr
Design Director

Russell Carr was appointed Head of Design for Lotus in October 2014, and took the title of Design Director in April 2018.

During his 31-year career in design Russell has been involved in numerous exciting Lotus Cars projects, as well as leading design consultancy work for other brands. This rare mix means he has helped to shape everything from forklift trucks to superbikes, while benefitting from the opportunity to work alongside several renowned CEOs and respected design directors, gaining valuable knowledge from their experience and processes.

Russell joined Lotus Cars in 1990, initially as a designer. He has overseen the introduction of several significant Lotus models including the second-generation Elise, three generations of Exige, the Evora, the 2-Eleven, 3-Eleven and 340R. In his earlier career he was lead designer on the Esprit S4/S4s, the Elise GT1, and was fortunate to work on some aesthetic aspects of Lotus’ Formula 1 cars.

First ever job:

My first proper job was working at a small advertising and graphics agency in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. My first automotive design job was at MGA, a design and engineering consultancy who worked with numerous clients including Ford, Austin-Rover and Triumph motorcycles.

First car:

A white 1977 Mini clubman with go-faster stripes. It gave me independence but occupied my free time keeping the rust at bay.

Favourite Lotus:

I like many of the classic road and race cars, and I’m sure that I give a different answer each time I am asked. Right now, it’s the Evija because it is the complete package. It innovates both visually and technically and, of course, the fact that I have had so much emotionally invested in the product from day one makes it incredibly special.

Favourite driving road:

I have driven the Pacific Coast Highway in America a few times. Perhaps not a great driver’s road but breath-taking scenery.

Most proud of:

Professionally I am most proud of what the Lotus design team has achieved on the Evija programme. From a creative standpoint, the end product is beautiful, innovative and instantly recognisable as a Lotus. To achieve this we had to work as a team and demonstrate relentless drive, passion and commitment.

Desert island disc:

The Rolling Stones have always been a favourite and if I had to pick one track it would be Sympathy for the Devil. I associate it with several happy warm evenings seeing them play over the past 40 years.

Outside Lotus:

I work fairly long hours, so outside work it’s all about the family.

Claim to fame:

I did once win an art prize at primary school.

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Matt Windle
Executive Director, Engineering

Matt Windle was appointed Executive Director, Engineering, in February 2020 when he took over responsibility for the Lotus Engineering consultancy. Prior to that he’d been Executive Director, Sports Car Engineering, since July 2018.

Matt started 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.

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Uday Senapati
Executive Director, Corporate Strategy and Product Management

Uday Senapati joined Lotus in August 2018 as the Executive Director for Corporate Strategy and Product Management. He is responsible for the company strategy, product management of future cars and digital products/services, as well as strategic partnerships.

Trained as an engineer and in business management, Uday has worked on numerous vehicle projects at various global companies and within different areas of product development.

Prior to joining Lotus he worked at Bentley Motors, where he was responsible for turning Mulliner, a dormant section of the business, into a successful and profitable special vehicles division. Along with technical areas of business, he has also led teams covering Project Management, Procurement, Supply Chain Management, Production and Logistics.

Uday has a great passion for cars and automotive brands. He is proud to be a part of the team that has been entrusted with reinvigorating the Lotus brand and growing the business significantly.

First ever job:

I started as a graduate trainee engineer, working on vehicle refinement and acoustics for Mahindra in India.

Favourite Lotus:

It’s the Esprit S1 – I’d love to buy one.

Favourite driving road:

I’d say it’s Marine Drive in Llandudno, Wales. It’s a road with sea on one side and mountain on the other. It’s spectacular. The other one I really enjoyed driving was the Great Ocean Road, south of Melbourne in Australia.

Most proud of:

Being asked to join Lotus and help define its future was certainly a proud moment. I worked on launching several vehicle projects at Bentley, and one I am particularly proud of is the Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine. It started as a ‘skunkworks’ project, but ended up as the star of the show at Geneva Auto Salon 2016.

Outside Lotus: I like reading and travelling, finding new places to visit. Iceland was one great place that I visited for work and I’d love to go back. Barcelona is my favourite city in the world.

Claim to fame: I had lunch with Lewis Hamilton in Melbourne before the first race of the F1 season in 2017. Listening to his practice regime and determination to win the championship – which he did – showed what a great sportsman he is.

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David Hewitt
Executive Director, Operations

David Hewitt was appointed Executive Director of Operations in November 2011.

David and his team oversee manufacturing, manufacturing engineering, production planning and facilities across all of Lotus’ UK sites. Delivering the operational elements of the company’s Vision80 strategy, the priority is to increase the manufacturing footprint and the skills of the workforce. This will allow the business to create more efficient and technically advanced facilities in which to build a new range of Lotus performance cars.

Having graduated in AeronauticalEngineering, David began his career in the oil and gas industry before joining Volvo in 1995 as a Fleet Operations Analyst. He held senior business improvement positions there and was one of its first Six Sigma ‘Black Belts’.

Taking time away from the automotive arena, David joined Vodafone in 2005 to support its fledgling business improvement department. He eventually took the position of Head of Business Improvement, before becoming Senior Manager for Customer Operations.

First ever job:

I worked at my local supermarket, collecting trolleys from the car park, working on the tills and stacking shelves.

First car:

An Austin Metro 1.3 L. It was blue and the brake lights didn’t always work.

Favourite Lotus:

An Elise Series 2. I remember seeing it for the first time – it was in red – and it looked stunning. It was a real ‘wow’ moment.

Favourite driving road:

My wife and want to drive the road from Lake Maggiore to Mont Blanc in the Alps. We’ve only done it in a coach so far.

Most proud of:

Professionally, it’s the way Lotus has come through some very dark times and survived to be where it is now, and the part I played in that.

Desert island disc:

Something by Coldplay. The book I come back to most often is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a management book by Stephen Covey. It’s quite insightful. As a luxury item I’d want an iPhone, but I guess there might not be a signal.

Outside Lotus:

I love to watch football. I support Sheffield Wednesday but Reading is my local team.I’m fascinated by the theory of flight and learned to fly with the RAF Volunteer Reserves. I’ve done a parachute jump and at one stage was an active paraglider. Old age and responsibilities mean this is more of a passive interest now!

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Gavan Kershaw
Director, Attributes and Product Integrity

Gavan Kershaw was appointed Director, Attributes and Product Integrity in May 2017.

Working closely with Lotus Design, engineering teams and the vehicle dynamics group, Gavan sets the targets, benchmarks and evaluation sign-off on everything to do with the performance of Lotus cars. That covers areas such as suspension, handling requirements, cockpit ergonomics and even what noise the customer hears.

His years of experience in vehicle dynamics and successful racing background makes him the perfect judge of what’s right for Lotus and its customers. That’s more relevant than ever as the industry moves towards electrification and autonomy; Gavan’s role is to ensure the brand remains ‘For The Drivers’ and the Lotus DNA is always at the heart of every car.

After successful completion of a Lotus Engineering apprenticeship, Gavan worked within the vehicle dynamics group. He was responsible for Lotus chassis programmes and Lotus Engineering client projects around the world. In 2010 he took technical responsibility for Lotus Motorsport, delivering the Evora GT4 and Le Mans GTE cars amongst others. In 2015 Gavan was promoted to Head of Lotus Vehicle Engineering, delivering several Evora and Exige programmes.

First ever job:

I’ve never had another job outside Lotus. I was employed from school when I’d just turned 16.

First car:

I had a 1987 Fiat Uno and it sat on my drive for six months before I was legally old enough to drive it. I got bored with it and bought a Vauxhall Astra GTE 16v when I was 18.

Favourite Lotus:

It sound corny, but I’m going with the Evija because it’s moving the game on so far. I enjoyed the Esprit when we were developing that, and I own an Esprit GT3.

Favourite driving road:

I really enjoy the roads around Thetford Forest in Norfolk – the A1065 and A134 Triangle – which we use for road test evaluation. They’re quiet and picturesque, but with challenging surfaces. Once you’ve done that route it really helps you understand what a vehicle’s potential is.

Most proud of:

What I’ve achieved through being a good driver. It has opened the doors to motorsport success, becoming a dynamics engineer, being part of a world-renowned team and even driving many of the historic F1 cars at Classic Team Lotus.

Desert island disc:

I’m going to pick Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen, and a book called Tune to Win by Caroll Smith. It’s a race car set-up book from the Eighties and was the go-to manual for drivers if you were struggling with something. My luxury item would a MkI Lotus Cortina rally car on sand tyres.

Outside Lotus:

I still love getting in a race car – some GT4 and historics – and I’m a typical husband / dad, so often found standing by the side of a football pitch or watching my daughter dance.

Claim to fame:

I designed the Top Gear Test Track, so I’m the reason there are corners called Follow Through and Hammerhead. I also compared notes with Emerson Fittipaldi after I’d driven his Lotus Type 72 F1 championship-winning car. He didn’t know I was the guy who did the shake-down testing on it before he drove it at an event, and he signed a photo of me in his car.