At a press conference held this morning at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, McLaren Group Chairman Ron Dennis announced a major restructuring of the McLaren Group. McLaren has for more than two years been engaged in a programme to develop a range of pure McLaren sports cars that will build on the great successes of the McLaren F1 and Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. As part of this plan, it is intended that McLaren Automotive, currently one of a number of companies within the McLaren Group, will become an independent company later this year. The launch date for the first model in the new range of McLaren sports cars will be in 2011.
A number of organisational changes have also been announced today, which are designed to facilitate the next stage of McLaren’s corporate development:
- As Executive Chairman of McLaren Automotive, Ron Dennis will lead the growth of the new sports car business. As of today, Ron Dennis has handed his responsibility as Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing to Martin Whitmarsh, who will be responsible to the board for the activities of McLaren Racing in addition to his role of Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
- On June 1st 2009 Richard Lapthorne will be appointed Non Executive Chairman of the McLaren Group and a Non Executive Director of McLaren Automotive.
It all looks like long planned corporate decision that probably designed to facilitate the intended raising of fresh equity for McLaren Automotive. But when the news about the planned announcement broke yesterday it immediately raised some suspicions that the timing of the announcement that involves Ron Dennis’ departure from F1 may have something to do with the current FIA related troubles of McLaren… Ron Dennis’ words somehow suggested that there may be a connection:
“I admit I’m not always easy to get on with. I admit I’ve always fought hard for McLaren in Formula 1. I doubt if Max Mosley or Bernie Ecclestone will be displeased by my decision.”
Although at the same time he stressed that there is none :
“No-one asked me to do it. It was my decision. Equally, I was the architect of today’s restructure of the McLaren Group. Again, no-one asked me to do it. It was my decision.”
So, no matter what the motivation was for the timing of this announcement, one thing is clear, this is the end of Ron Dennis’ direct involvement in F1. But we should not forget that he still owns big part of that company:
- The McLaren Group comprises McLaren Automotive, McLaren Racing, McLaren Marketing, McLaren Electronic Systems, McLaren Applied Technologies and Absolute Taste.
The shareholding of the McLaren Group is as follows: Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) 40%; Bahraini Mumtalakat Holding Company 30%; Tag Group (Mansour Ojjeh) 15%; Ron Dennis 15%
(Source McLaren Media)
Photo: McLaren Media