Formula 1

McLaren’s Ron Dennis admits falling out with TAG Heuer CEO

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The 30-year partnership between Formula 1 team McLaren and the luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer has come to an end, adding to the lose of Vodafone and Hugo Boss.

Chairman of McLaren Technology Group, Ron Dennis has admitted to the falling out between him and the CEO of TAG Heuer, Jean-Claude Biver, resulting in the company jumping ship from McLaren to Red Bull Racing.

“I controlled the sales and marketing of that company in the early periods, I was a shareholder, it went through a variety of iterations, changes of ownership,” said Dennis. “Let’s say the thread of history got pulled tighter and tighter and the current chief executive and I fundamentally disagreed about some things.

“I didn’t share his view on a radical approach to sponsorship that I felt was inappropriate for our brand. There was a particular moment in Monte Carlo I didn’t feel was positive, so that thread was caught.”

Despite the loss of big name sponsorships, Dennis is adamant that the McLaren Technology Group is still very healthy when it comes to its sponsorship and financial position.

“As chief executive I have the overview as to where the revenue streams are and I have to predict where we are going to go,” he added. “You don’t have to be Einstein to know the environment for Formula 1 and sports sponsorship overall, is challenging.

“The worst thing you can do is get into a situation where you drop your A-card and then things spiral out of control. I’m quite optimistic about the discussions we’re having but better to wait and see how we start next season.

“Do I lose sleep over it though? No I don’t. We’re very strong financially. The equity value of our organisation is now well over £1billion. All of our businesses are profitable, and we will be profitable. We’re a strong organisation, and you use that strength to make sure you take good decisions overall.”

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