Dany Bahar is a Turkish-born Swiss business executive and the founder of luxury automotive retailer ARES. His involvement in the automotive and motorsports industries began at Red Bull, where between 2003 and 2007 he led the launch of the Formula One teams Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. From 2007 to 2009 he was Senior Vice President Commercial and Brand at Ferrari, after which he became CEO of Group Lotus, a term which ended in 2012 after the parent company was taken over. In 2012 he founded ARES, an Italian company modifying high-performance cars.

Early life and education

Dany Bahar was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1971 and grew up in the Swiss ski village of Silvaplana, near the Italian border. He studied marketing at the Kaufmännische Handelsschule (commercial school) in Wil, Switzerland.[1][2]


Early career

Dany Bahar began his career as a sports marketer for Coni Altherr, a Swiss inline skating company and the founder of the Swiss Inline Cup.[3][4] He later moved to Rome where he worked for Sabatino Aracu, president of the International Roller Sports Federation. In 2001, after a time in Dubai as a project coordinator for an IT firm, he worked for two years as an asset manager for Fritz Kaiser, a wealth management entrepreneur based in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.[2][3]

Red Bull

While working for Fritz Kaiser, Dany Bahar met Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull's Austrian co-founder and a partner of Kaiser.[2][5] He subsequently worked with Dietrich Mateschitz at Red Bull, responsible for its entry into Formula One with the launch of Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, as well as into US-based NASCAR.[1][6][7][8] Alongside auto racing, Dany Bahar also oversaw Red Bull's purchase of football clubs in Salzburg, New York City and Ghana in a series of acquisitions that saw the New York MetroStars rebranded as the New York Red Bulls.[9][10] He was Red Bull's chief operating officer from 2003 to 2007.[11]


During negotiations to supply Ferrari engines to Red Bull Racing in 2006, Dany Bahar came into contact with his counterparts at Ferrari. In 2007 he was hired with the title Senior Vice President, Commercial and Brand, heading the manufacturer's new global brand department.[8][9] In this role he implemented a licensing and merchandising campaign and expanded the number of Ferrari retail stores.[10]


At the 2009 Geneva Motor Show he was approached by Malaysian car maker Proton – owner of British manufacturer Lotus, which had been operating at a loss for 15 years.[12][13] He became CEO of Group Lotus in October that year and launched a five-year plan intended to target emerging markets like China.[14][15] At the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Lotus unveiled five new cars in a bid to move away from its low-margin model and move upmarket to rival Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche.[16] Later that year Lotus returned to Formula One with the relaunch of the Renault F1 Team as Lotus Renault GP.[17][18] In 2011 Lotus opened its first showroom in Beijing, offering four coupes.[19]

Following an internal investigation, amid allegations that he was misusing company funds for extravagant expenses, Bahar was dismissed from his role as CEO in June 2012.[20][21] That August, he sued DRB and Lotus for £6.7m, alleging Lotus dismissed him to avoid paying five percent of the company's value he was owed as a result of the recent acquisition of the company by DRB-Hicom.[15][22] Lotus later sued Bahar for £2.5m in an effort it said was to recoup some of the money he had spent.[21] An out-of-court settlement was reached in May 2014.[23]


In 2014 Dany Bahar founded ARES – a Modena-based automotive atelier specialising in bodykits, interior upgrades and performance and power improvements.[12][13][24]

Personal life

Dany Bahar lives in Dubai and is married with three children.[2][13]


  1. ^ a b "Lotus to fight Dany Bahar unfair dismissal claim". BBC News Norfolk. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Davidson, Andrew (26 June 2011). "Last throw of the dice for Lotus". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b Barmettler, Stefan (12 March 2010). "Machtnetz von Dany Bahar: Volle Pulle" [Power network of Dany Bahar]. Bilanz (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Coni Altherr of Switzerland Organizer of the World Inline Cup". SkateLog. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Ende von Wunderknabe Dany Taner Bahar" [End of Wonder Boy Dany Bahar]. Inside ParadePlatz (in German). 12 May 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  6. ^ Joseph, Noah (8 July 2014). "Dany Bahar plans Aston Martin shooting brake at Modena-based tuner". Auto Blog. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Dany Bahar". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  8. ^ a b Joseph, Noah (10 June 2007). "At Park Opening in '09, It's All Ferrari, All the Time". New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  9. ^ a b Lavrinc, Damon (3 September 2009). "Dany Bahar appointed as new Lotus CEO". Auto Blog. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. ^ a b Sintumuang, Kevin (25 February 2011). "This Man Wants to Sell You a Lifestyle (Car Included)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  11. ^ "High Court to decide Lotus chief's £6.7m sacking claim". BBC News Norfolk. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  12. ^ a b Tovey, Alan (8 September 2014). "Want a €1m car like nothing else on the road? Dany Bahar's your man". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  13. ^ a b c Barlow, Jason (1 October 2014). "The Top Gear interview: Dany Bahar". Top Gear Magazine. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  14. ^ "UK: Lotus appoints new CEO". just-auto.com. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  15. ^ a b Armitsead, Louise (28 August 2012). "Former Lotus boss Dany Bahar seeks £6.7m for unfair dismissal". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  16. ^ Phillips, Drew. "Lotus shocks Paris Motor Show with five concept debuts".
  17. ^ "Dany Bahar suspended from Lotus role". AutoSport.com. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Interview with Group Lotus's Dany Bahar". AutoSport.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  19. ^ "Short torque". China Daily. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  20. ^ Pollard, Tim (7 June 2012). "Lotus CEO fired - Dany Bahar won't return to Lotus". Car Magazine. Bauer Media Ltd. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Former Lotus CEO Danny Bahar Sued for $4 Million". GT Spirit. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  22. ^ "Lotus's ex-boss Dany Bahar settles unfair dismissal claim". BBC News Norfolk. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  23. ^ Gibbs, Nick (21 May 2014). "Sacked Lotus boss Bahar settles out of court". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Dany Bahar Creates New Italian Tuning Firm Dubbed 'Ares'". GTSpirit.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014.