Published on February 2nd, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


Lotus CEO Phil Popham Steps Down After 2 Years Under Geely

Phil Popham leaves his post as CEO, Matt Windle from Lotus Cars’ Engineering Division comes in as Managing Director.

Back in September 2017, Geely bought a 51% stake of Lotus Cars and very quickly changes were put in place. Jean-Marc Gales, who served as the British company’s CEO stepped down in June 2018 to make way for Phil Popham. Today, Phil Popham passed the baton on to Matt Windle, the head of Lotus Cars’ Engineering Division.

Lotus Under Phil Popham

Popham may have only served the company as its CEO for just over 2 years, but they were an important and challenging 2 years, for sure. Not only did he help transition the company to adapt to Geely’s stewardship, but he also put in place huge changes and strategies. Under his leadership, Lotus opened new assembly facilities and upgraded existing sites. They also launched the Evija and implemented the company’s Vision80 strategy to see it through to its 8th decade of existence. He leaves Lotus to pursue his own personal projects.

Lotus Phil Popham CEO

New Leadership

Curiously, Phil Popham’s replacement takes not the title of CEO, but Managing Director. Perhaps this is just a technicality, seeing Phil Popham is only officially leaving Lotus in April 2021 – can’t have two people with the same job title. Matt Windle started off at Lotus in 1998, shortly after its acquisition by Proton. He left the company to pursue work at other brands like Volvo, Caterham and Tesla before returning in 2017.

While Phil Popham’s career saw him through Operational, Sales and Marketing leadership roles, Matt Windle’s resume shows that he’s more interested in the technical side of things. Prior to taking the leadership role, he was in charge of the Lotus engineering department and Lotus Engineering consultancy.

Lotus New MD Matt Windle

He’s biggest challenges will be the actual launch and order fulfilment of the Lotus Evija as well as the upcoming Project 131 sportscar, set to replace legacy Lotus models like the Elise, Exige and Evora.

Here’s the press release with more.

BHP diesel


Following the news today that Phil Popham is to step down from his position at Lotus, the company confirms that Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, is the newly appointed Managing Director, Lotus Cars.

The first two projects that Lotus Cars will see through to completion under Matt Windle will be the Evija electric hypercar and the all-new, yet to be named, Type 131 sports car.  Both will be built from new factories at a comprehensively revitalised Hethel UK headquarters, and both are programmes Matt knows intimately from his tenure at the head of the Engineering function.  Look out for news on both these vehicles and more in 2021.

New leadership appointments for the Engineering department and consultancy at Lotus will be the subject of a future announcement.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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