Formula 1

Ron Dennis ousted from McLaren CEO position by board members

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Ron Dennis in the garage. Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Ron Dennis, longstanding employee and the CEO of  McLaren Technology Group, has quit his current role within the F1 team and company, after he was forced out by fellow board members at a meeting in Woking on Tuesday.

The remaining shareholders who have a joint stake in the firm, had become unhappy with Dennis’ management style, stating that they no longer felt he was the right man to take McLaren forward and for some weeks now had been working to put him on gardening leave with immediate effect. The 69-year-old was having none of such actions however and put up a fight, claiming the circumstances regarding this sudden wish to oust him were “spurious”.

The Brit went to the high court to try to stop his removal from happening but to no avail, leading to Dennis announcing he would be stepping down after 35 years of running the corporation and would be relinquishing his duties, though would still remain on the board for the time being.

The 69-year-old has vowed to start-up his own personal technology investment fund once his contractual obligations at McLaren have been completed, which should allow him to work on other business opportunities he had so far put to one side whilst concentrating on his work with the Group, making it highly likely that we will hear of him again, if not in F1 perhaps some other arena.

Dennis issued a statement following his departure.

“I am disappointed that the representatives of TAG and Mumtalakat, the other main shareholders in McLaren, have forced through this decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest at the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business.

“The grounds they have stated are entirely spurious; my management style is the same as it has always been and is one that has enabled McLaren to become an automotive and technology group that has won 20 Formula 1 world championships and grown into an £850 million a year business.

“Throughout that time I have worked closely with a series of talented colleagues to keep McLaren at the cutting edge of technology, to whom I will always be extremely grateful.

“Ultimately it has become clear to me through this process that neither TAG nor Mumtalakat share my vision for McLaren and its true growth potential. But my first concern is to the business I have built and to its 3,500 employees.

“I will continue to use my significant shareholdings in both companies and my seats on both boards to protect the interests and value of McLaren and help shape its future.

“In addition I intend to launch a new technology investment fund once my contractual commitments with McLaren expire.

“This will capitalise on my expertise, my financial resources, together with external investment to pursue the many commercial opportunities I have been offered in recent years but have been unable to take up while being so committed to the existing business.”

Under Dennis’ management McLaren won ten drivers’ championships and seven as a constructor, in a tenure that saw the Woking based squad win 158 grand prix. Being the most successful leader in F1 history, clearly does not mean you will always have everything your own way!

The inability of Dennis to source a title sponsor following the loss of Vodafone at the end of 2013 is believed to have started the ball rolling with board member’s, who began to feel he was no longer up to the job of securing such deals in the current digital and social media society.

McLaren also issued a statement to clarify their position, advising that they are currently searching for a new Chief Executive Officer, with American Zak Brown currently deemed his most likely replacement.

McLaren Technology Group announcement

“As of this afternoon Ron Dennis no longer holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Technology Group (or its subsidiaries). However, he remains a shareholder and a director of McLaren Technology Group.

“Over the past 35 years Ron’s contribution to the success of McLaren has been colossal. During his tenure the team won 17 World Championships and 158 Grand Prix, making him the most successful leader in Formula 1 history. Like the company’s founder, Bruce McLaren, Ron is and will always be one of the true greats of the sport.

“McLaren Technology Group is now in the process of seeking a new Chief Executive Officer. Until such an appointment has been made, the company will be run on an interim basis by an Executive Committee comprising the Group’s majority shareholders, in close collaboration with the Board of Directors and the senior management team, all of whom remain utterly committed to the company, its partners, its employees and its fans, and share a passionate determination to build on our many strengths towards future prosperity.”

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