Kimberley, who will turn 71 in August, has said that he is stepping down on doctors’ orders after surgery for a back problem “so as not to jeopardize my long term health”.
The daily running of the Norfolk-based company will be taken care of by an executive committee of the Lotus board until a new CEO is appointed.
Kimberley joined Lotus in 1969, and rose to become chairman of Group Lotus plc after the death of founder Colin Chapman in 1982. Kimberley left Lotus in 1992 and held a number of positions in the global automotive industry, including stints at General Motors and Lamborghini, before returning to Lotus as a member of the board in 2005.
In May 2006 Kimberley was appointed Lotus CEO for a second time. Since then, He’s been credited with turning around the fortunes of the notoriously unstable sports car company, including the expansion of the company’s engineering consultancy operations. Kimberley has also overseen the creation of the critically acclaimed Lotus Evora to market – the first all-new Lotus to come out of Hethel since the first-generation Elise in 1996.
Kimberley said: “It'll be very hard to leave knowing that there are such exciting times ahead but I'll take with me many very happy memories. I want to extend my thanks to the company's shareholder for their unfailing support, my management team and the wonderful staff both at Hethel and at our various operational locations throughout the world. Most of all I want to thank our Lotus customers and loyal fans worldwide for their support over the years."