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Lotus: change at the top

Just 18 months into the job, Kim Ogaard-Nielsen has left his post as CEO of Group Lotus plc to 'pursue his other entrepreneurial interests'. He's replaced on an 'acting' basis by Mike Kimberley, who has a long-standing relationship with Lotus - he joined the company in 1969 during the Colin Chapman era and was CEO from 1983 to 1991.

After leaving Lotus in '91, Kimberley worked for General Motors and had a major role in Lamborghini's revival in 1994. Last year he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Group Lotus plc and Lotus Group International.

Meanwhile, in what must be seen as a vote of confidence for the Lotus factory, it has just been announced that the next- generation Esprit, due late next year, will be built at Hethel - it had been expected that production would shift to Malaysia, where Lotus's owner, Proton, is based.

The track-biased, Elise-based Circuit Car has been delayed until spring 2007, though, to allow Lotus to concentrate on developing the Esprit and launching the Europa.

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