Controversial Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has been fired from his position with the company following a complaint about his conduct, the Malaysian-owned manufacturer announced on Thursday.

The official press release from the company said that Group Lotus "can today confirm that Mr Dany Bahar has been terminated from his employment as Chief Executive Officer of Lotus with immediate effect.

"The decision was made by the Board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against him by the company's penultimate holding company, DRB-HICOM Berhad," the statement added.

The details about the complaint that led to Bahar's termination remains strictly under wraps. Bahar had been suspended from his position two weeks ago on May 25 following the original filing of the complaint. Group Lotus' PR agency said that no further details about the inciting matter would be disclosed for the time being, and that there would be no further comment on the matter for now.

Group Lotus also announced the appointment of Aslam Farikullah as the company's Chief Operating Officer, again with immediate effect. Farikullah will presumably run the company in Bahar's place, although no official replacement for Bahar as Chief Executive Officer was named.

51-year-old Farikullah is described as a British resident and an engineering graduate of the University of Bath, with over 26 years experience mostly in the automotive industry.

With fingers in many pies in the automotive and motorsports world at present thanks to Bahar's high-profile and controversial expansionist strategy, Group Lotus has moved quickly to reassure interested parties that the change of management didn't mean that the manufacturer was about to make more widescale changes to its corporate strategy.

"I would like to assure you that we remain committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group as we take the Lotus Group to the next level to remain relevant in the global automotive industry, said Dato' Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, Chairman of Lotus and the Group Managing Director of DRB-HICOM Berhad.

"I look forward to bringing mutual benefits to not only DRB-HICOM and PROTON Holdings Berhad but also the Lotus Group and its employees as well as contribute to the growth of the British automotive industry," he added in the official company statement announcing the top-level management shake-up. He had previously stated that the company would not be sold off "despite recent media reports based purely on speculation and rumours".

Following the original suspension of Bahar in May, Proton had already installed four of its own executives into the management structure to handle the day-to-day running of Lotus in Bahar's absence.

As well as being behind Group Lotus return to F1 with Renault, and at the centre of the war of words over use of the Lotus name with Tony Fernandes, Bahar introduced the Lotus brand to the wider world of motorsport, creating brand tie-ups across almost every senior series, ranging from GP2 and GP3 via IndyCar and the Renault World Series to sportscars in both the American Le Mans Series and in Europe.

The timing of Bahar's original suspension came just ahead of the Indianapolis 500, which saw Lotus embarrassed by teams falling over themselves to defect from its engines, and those that remained - including one entry driven by former F1 driver Jean Alesi - getting parked in the first ten laps for failing to meet minimum speed requirements, which did little for the Lotus brand in the industry.

Lotus' IndyCar engine development program had been impacted by the takeover of Lotus' parent company Proton at the start of 2012 by DRB-Hicom Berhad and a subsequent lockdown on spending for due diligence. There had been rumours that the review of accounts pointed to irregularities in how funds from Proton to Lotus intended for road car development had instead been used for other purposes, including a new headquarters for Group Lotus in Hethel and various motorsports and promotional activities.

Bahar also had ambitions away from the racetrack, with plans to introduce as many as five new Lotus road models. They were to have been built by Proton but, following the company's acquisition by DRB-Hicom, that dream has been put firmly on the backburner, particularly in the wake of the latest developments.

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