Caterham Cars CEO steps down after 10 years

Bob Laishley takes on the challenge of steering Caterham into an electrified future as Graham Macdonald retires

By PH Staff / Wednesday, 29 June 2022 / Loading comments

Graham Macdonald, a 15-year veteran of Caterham Cars – a decade of it spent as CEO – has decided to step away from the business and retire. He will be replaced by Bob Laishley, the former Nissan executive brought in by owner VT Holdings just last year to help guide the firm into the electrified era. He will swap his current position as Chief Strategic Officer for chief exec at the start of next month. 

His in-tray will be considerable. Macdonald is said to have left the firm with an order book of nearly 12 months after Caterham enjoyed its best-ever sales year in 2021. But Caterham faces an inevitable uphill battle in its medium-term future, as the pressures of increasingly stringent regulations and the myriad problems associated with the eventual transition to battery-electric power hove into view. 

Obviously Laishley’s time in the job already will have left him ideally positioned him for what lies ahead, as does the quarter of a century he spent at Nissan, which included a lengthy stint as Global Sportscar Programme Director. When he was appointed, Macdonald talked up the prospect of an all-electric Seven joining the existing lineup in 2023; still no sign of that car yet, but Caterham has always been keen to remind everyone that Laishley has a ‘proven track-record in developing and delivering innovative new products.’ 

Regardless of what the immediate future holds, the outgoing CEO can look back at his tenure with a sense of pride. Macdonald joined the business in 2007, and spent five years as Chief Financial Officer before he took the reins. Certainly his time in charge was no less challenging under Tony Fernandes’ ownership of the brand; a period which featured both the peaks and troughs of F1 participation, not to mention the aborted partnership with Renault on the Alpine A110 programme. 

Laishley said of his former boss: “I would like to thank Graham, on behalf of everyone at Caterham, for his work over the last 15 years. He leaves the business in a strong position following our best ever sales year in 2021 and demand for the Seven at an all-time high.”

Macdonald added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the customers, staff, dealers, shareholders and suppliers for their support throughout my time at Caterham. After 15 years, 10 in the role of CEO, it feels like the right time step away and retire. There’s been some massive highs and big challenges along the way, but I can honestly say I’ve relished every bit of my time at Caterham. I’m proud to be leaving the business with a healthy order book and wish Bob and the business all the success in the future.”

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