Formula One: Ron Dennis quits as McLaren chief - official

Ron Dennis pictured ahead of the third practice session for the Italian Grand Prix on Sept 3, 2016.
Ron Dennis pictured ahead of the third practice session for the Italian Grand Prix on Sept 3, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Ron Dennis confirmed on Tuesday (Nov 15) he has quit as boss of Formula One outfit McLaren after 35 years following pressure from shareholders.

The 69-year-old – who helped guide the likes of James Hunt and Ayrton Senna to the world title – quit after shareholders demanded at a meeting on Tuesday that he step down as chairman and chief executive.

A statement from Dennis said he had “been required to relinquish his duties as chairman and chief executive of McLaren Technology Group (MTG)”.

“This follows a decision by the majority shareholders to place him on gardening leave.”

Dennis said the other main shareholders “forced through” the decision “despite the strong warnings from the rest of the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business”.

Dennis dismissed complaints about his management style given he helped McLaren enjoy such success on the track although in recent years they have trailed their main rivals such as Mercedes and Red Bull.

According to reports, the relationship reached breaking point when Dennis last week presented a US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) takeover offer from a Chinese consortium and that did not go down well with the shareholders.

Dennis had applied to the High Court in London last Friday for an injunction to prevent the boardroom shake-up but lost and had been on gardening leave.

“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,” the Englishman said. That equates to S$1.5 billion.

“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.”