When former Renault chief Carlos Tavares raised the thorny matter of promotion with his boss, Carlos Ghosn, in the middle of last year — and ended up looking for a new job — I wrote a bit of nonsense here about there being two UK car jobs such an accomplished leader could contemplate: running Lotus or succeeding Ulrich Bez as CEO of Aston Martin.
Both gigs, I reckoned, were smaller in scale than what Tavares had been doing before, but both needed top talent to do what needed doing. Gent that he is, Tavares replied, saying that in his opinion it wasn’t the size of a company that mattered, but the size and fascination of the challenge.
Of course, by then Tavares must already have been negotiating with Peugeot over his mission to succeed Philippe Varin in the top job but for a month or two I enjoyed the picture of Aston or Lotus being run by a charismatic, capable, engineering-literate bloke who races a 600bhp single-seater all over Europe for fun on weekends.
Lotus’s problem has recently been dramatically reduced in size. It remains a mysterious company, owned by Malaysian interests, but at least there’s a plausible, methodical Bath-educated engineer, Aslam Farikullah, at the helm, and he seems to have righted the ship more promptly than looked possible.