Former Lotus boss Gales joins Williams Advanced Engineering

Former Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales has been named as the new chairman of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), the advanced technology firm born out of the Williams Formula 1 team.

The Frenchman will work alongside WAE chief executive Craig Wilson, tasked with developing “the future direction” of the firm.

Gales has spent more than 30 years working in the car industry, including stints at General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and at the helm of the PSA Group’s Citroën and Peugeot brands.

Gales joined Lotus in 2014, shortly after Geely made a major investment in the British firm. He had considerable success in growing its sales and making it profitable but left abruptly in 2018, citing personal reasons.

After leaving Lotus, Gales had a stint running classic car dealer Woodham Mortimer, previously known as JD Classics.

Gales said he was attracted to WAE because of its “unique expertise in efficient electrification”. He added that he “looked forward to working closely with the board and Craig to develop the full potential of this great business.”

WAE works across a number of sectors, including automotive, motorsport, aerospace and the defence industry, using engineering and technology that derived from the F1 team.

The Oxfordshire company has produced technology for Formula E and Extreme E and has assisted a number of cars firms with EV technology. It has also developed its own EV skateboard chassis.