Formula One: McLaren appoint executive director Zak Brown after Ron Dennis exit

Zak Brown (left) was named Monday as the new executive director of British-based Formula One team McLaren.
Zak Brown (left) was named Monday as the new executive director of British-based Formula One team McLaren. PHOTO: SINGAPORE EXCHANGE (SGX)

LONDON (AFP) - Zak Brown was named Monday as the new executive director of British-based Formula One team McLaren following the controversial exit of Ron Dennis.

Brown, an American former Formula Three driver and once the head of marketing company JMI, is due to take up his new post next month.

Dennis, the key management figure at McLaren for 35 years, failed last week in a High Court bid to stop the McLaren board from placing him on "gardening leave" until his contract expires in January.

A former engineer for Australian driver Jack Brabham, Dennis was forced out of McLaren - a team where he guided the likes of Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton to the world title - by shareholders demanding the 69-year-old quit its chairman and chief executive.

Brown, who previously worked with McLaren on sponsorship deals, said in a statement issued Monday: "I'm immensely proud to be joining McLaren Technology Group.

"I have the utmost respect and admiration for what the business has achieved to date, and I look forward to contributing to the next important phase in its development."

McLaren are still in the process of trying to recruit a new chief executive to replace Dennis, with Brown set to work alongside chief operating officer Jonathan Neale for the time being.

But Brown said his familiarity with the McLaren set up would help him settle into his new role.

"Having worked closely with McLaren for many years, I've been struck by the talent and ambition of the entire workforce, and I very much look forward to complementing the business's many existing strengths, and building on them to drive future success in everything we do."

The situation at McLaren has been complicated by Dennis still owning a 25 percent stake in the company.

Bahrain's Mumtalakat investment fund owns 50 percent and the remaining 25 percent by Dennis's long-time business partner Mansour Ojjeh, a Saudi-born Frenchman.

However, Dennis and Ojjeh fell out some time ago and that parting of the ways has come back to haunt the Englishman now that the Bahrainis have sided with Ojjeh.