JD Classics has appointed former Lotus chief executive Jean-Marc Gales as its new chief executive, stating that he is “excited” to be joining its team of “very talented technicians and craftsmen”.
Gales, who was appointed to his post at Lotus Group plc in 2014 and was responsible for transforming the business, driving rapid profitability growth, brings three decades of industry experience to the Essex-based classic car restoration and retail operation.
The appointment comes at a time that sees JD Classics founder Derek Hood locked in an ongoing court battle with former customer Mike Tuke.
Tuke is attempting to sue the Essex-based operation for around £9 million after alleging that he “suffered catastrophic losses” during the trading of 41 vehicles.
New chief executive Gales has held senior executive roles in sales, marketing and operations at Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Fiat and General Motors and will now will lead JD Classics’ creation of a full-service platform offering the highest quality experiences and product to our global customer base, a statement revealed.
Gales said: “I am excited by the opportunity to lead the JD Classics team. This is a business with very talented technicians and craftsmen and truly knowledgeable and passionate sales advisors.
“It has grown over the past 30 years to a world-class business known for a quality product through the passion and dedication of its team.”
Established in 1987, JD Classics is headquartered in a state-of-the-art facility in Maldon, Essex, with a global network of showrooms in Maldon, Mayfair and Newport Beach, California
Christopher Fielding, from Charme Capital Partners, which bought a majority share in the business founded by Derek Hood, back in 2016, said: “Charme Capital Partners is thrilled to bring Jean-Marc Gales on board as CEO.
“With Jean-Marc at the helm, he and his leadership team will be able to deliver our shared vision for this business as the full-service and truly global destination for classic car collectors and enthusiasts.”
Feng Qingfeng, vice president and chief technical officer of Geely Auto Group, has been appointed to succeed JGales as chief executive officer of Group Lotus effective immediately.
A statement issued by Lotus said that Gales had chosen to leave the business for "personal reasons", adding that he would become chief strategic advisor to Lotus chairman, Daniel Donghui Li.
Geely Holding, which acquired a controlling stake in Group Lotus in 2017, thanked Mr Gales for his contribution to the company over the past four years.
Daniel Donghui Li, chief financial officer of Geely Holding and Lotus chairman, said: “Jean-Marc has stabilised and turned Lotus to profitability for the first time in the iconic brands history with new industry leading products and unique business models since joining the company in 2014.
"Lotus is poised for the next phase of growth under Feng Qingfeng’s leadership, where its expertise in lightweight materials and sport cars-engineering will form part of the wider expansion of Geely's automotive portfolio.
"At the same time I will welcome Jean-Marc‘s Council as chief strategic advisor to myself and the board of directors.”