It is with great sadness that we report that NextEV co-founder and co-president Martin Leach has died, following a battle with cancer.
Leach, 59, enjoyed a career in motorsport spanning more than 40 years, with senior roles at Ford, Mazda and Maserati, before joining NextEV in early 2015. There, he played a key role in managing NextEV’s Formula E link-up with Team China Racing midway through the first season of the new sport; Nelson Piquet went on to win the first ever drivers’ title of the series with NextEV emblazoned on the side of his car.
After a rocky second season, the team underwent a dramatic overhaul overseen by Leach, with the results clear in Hong Kong as Piquet and Oliver Turvey locked out the front row of the grid.
While we didn’t know Leach well personally, he was fiercely protective of his team, and full of the sort of steely resolve and vision that often marks pioneers. “Martin was always incredibly gracious and courteous during our chats throughout his stint in Formula E,” says Luke Smith, Current E journalist. “Our last interview, conducted over the summer but not yet published in full, offered the sort of insight that set it apart in my career as a journalist.”
Current E would like to offer its deepest sympathies to Leach’s family, friends and the entire NextEV team at this time; we hope that you find comfort and strength to face the difficult days to come.
NextEV founder and chairman William Li issued the following statement on Tuesday evening.
With the deepest grief, I have to announce that we have lost a great friend, a leader and a founding member and Co-President of NextEV, Dr Martin Leach, who left us today after fighting illness over the past few months.
I came to know Martin in October 2014. I was impressed by his achievements in the industry, and I was deeply touched by his passion in sharing my vision of creating a totally new experience for automobile users. Since then, Martin had participated i every step of the NextEV journey.
In the early days, Martin supported me in creating an excellent leadership team, shaping the company’s value and defining our products, which set the foundation of NextEV.
Martin continued to lead our performance programmes and, under his leadership, NextEV achieved the inaugural drivers championship title in the FIA Formula E Championship and our supercar will be seen by the world soon.
Martin is a true warrior and lived to the highest standard. Even during his last minutes, he was still caring about the progress of NextEV. I am honoured to have had Martin as a partner. His loss is a great loss to all of us, his legacy will stay forever with NextEV. His dedication and his vision will continue to inspire our people to create our history.
We will honour Martin with our very best contribution and by completing his mission.
Together, we at NextEV send our sincere condolences to Martin’s family.
May racing be with you in heaven, Martin.