Usurping team principal Martin Whitmarsh’s official title of group chief executive and promising radical changes, Ron Dennis has grabbed back control of the underperforming McLaren Formula One racing team.
The coup could spell the departure of Whitmarsh, team principal since 2009. He has failed to revive McLaren’s glory days and a barren 2013 season resulted in the team’s drivers, Jensen Button and Sergio Perez, failing to make it on to the winners’ podium at a single Grand Prix.
Dennis is understood to have addressed a staff meeting – not attended by Whitmarsh – at its Woking headquarters at which he declared: “There will be changes”. Dennis, chairman of McLaren Group and a 25 % shareholder, took back the role he held for 30 years, saying he would “undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses”.
In a statement from McLaren, Dennis said: “My fellow shareholders have mandated me to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance.”
Dennis has been trying to attract Chinese investors to McLaren Group. He is also chairman of McLaren Automotive, the high-performance road car business. McLaren is 50 % owned by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company. The other 25 % is in the hands of entrepreneur Mansour Ojjeh’s Tag Group.
Via Financial Times