Ron Dennis has been forced to step down from his role as CEO and chairman of the McLaren Technology Group.
The 69-year-old, who owns 25% of McLaren, has been asked to relinquish his duties in the wake of a power struggle with fellow shareholders - Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat (which has a 50% controlling stake) and long-time friend Mansour Ojjeh (25%).
Dennis, who has been at the helm of the British company since 1980, had already been told that his contract will not be renewed once it expires in mid-January. He has been placed on gardening leave until that date, a move he tried to prevent by seeking a High Court injonction last week.
“I am disappointed that the representatives of TAG and Mumtalakat, the other main shareholders in McLaren have forced through the decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest of the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business,” Dennis said in a statement.
“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 One 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 alway be 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.”
Sky News' City Editor Mark Kleinman reported ahead of last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix a last-ditch effort from Dennis to save his position with a £1.65bn bid from a consortium of Chinese investors for McLaren. According to Kleinman, the move “prompted his fellow shareholders to launch a plot to oust him as chief executive”.
Dennis remains on the board of both the McLaren Technology Group and McLaren Limited Automotive, as well as a significant shareholder in both companies. The statement says he plans on launching a new technology investment fund later in 2017.
“I will continue to use my significant shareholding in both companies and my seats on both boards to protect the interests and value of McLaren and help shape its future,” Dennis added.
“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 altered in recent years but have been unable to take up while being so committed to the existing business.”