Martin Leach, the co-president of NextEV and boss of its Formula E team, has died at the age of 59 following a battle with cancer.
Leach joined NextEV in early 2015 after a lengthy career in the automotive industry that saw him hold senior roles at Mazda, Ford and Maserati.
Leach oversaw Nelson Piquet Jr.'s charge to the inaugural Formula E drivers' championship in 2015 with NextEV Team China Racing. NextEV acquired all of TCR's assets and history at the end of Formula E's second season.
A difficult sophomore campaign saw NextEV finish ninth in the teams' championship, prompting Leach to spark an overhaul of operations in the Formula E operation ahead of season three.
The result of the changes showed in the opening round in Hong Kong as Piquet took his first pole position in the series, with teammate Oliver Turvey completing a one-two in qualifying for the team.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, NextEV founder and chairman William Li paid tribute to Leach.
"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," Li wrote.
"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 in 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."