McLaren Boss Ron Dennis Reportedly Stepping Down From His Role By The End Of The Year
If it’s true, it’s going to be the end of a remarkable era for the companyby Kirby, on
McLaren chief Ron Dennis holds many titles within McLaren, including chairman and CEO of McLaren Group. But a lot of people also call him the godfather of McLaren, a status afforded to him for the role he played in turning the McLaren Group into the global automotive, racing, and tech giant that it is today. He is, in a lot ways, the founding father of McLaren. However, reports suggest Dennis will leave his role as chairman and CEO of McLaren Group at the end of the year.
A report from Autosport revealed that Dennis’ contract with the company will not be renewed once it ends at the end of the year. No official reason was given on why Dennis will step down from his roles, but a number of scenarios have turned up, including Dennis’ failure to acquire full controlling shares in the group after discussions to purchase 50 percent of the group from the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and another 25 percent from his business partner Mansour Ojjeh fizzled out because he couldn’t raise enough capital by the imposed deadline. Another reason that’s reportedly being attributed to Dennis’ exit is the continued struggles of McLaren’s Formula One team, which has failed to win either a driver’s title since 2008 and a constructors’ title since 1998.
For its part, a McLaren spokesperson has responded to Autosport’s inquiries about the situation, saying that, “In response to your question, Ron Dennis responded by stating categorically that he is not stepping down.”
In the event Dennis does step down, his departure from the McLaren Group will leave a gaping hole in the company. Jonathan Neale has been mentioned as a likely successor to Dennis. Neale is the current chief operating officer the McLaren Technology Group, which is made up of McLaren Racing, McLaren Marketing, and McLaren Applied Technologies.
McLaren Automotive, the road car division that we’re all very familiar with, is a separate entity from the McLaren Technology Group, so its own leadership will not be affected in the event Ron Dennis does call it a career.
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Tough to stay where this all ends up
There is obviously a delicate situation going on in McLaren now because there have been separate reports in the past that have talked about some kind of dissension within the company. While I am surprised that Dennis could be on the outs as CEO and chairman of the McLaren Group, I can’t say I’m shocked.
Remember, he once stepped down from his role as team principal of McLaren F1, ceding control in 2009 to Martin Whitmarsh, only to return to the Group CEO role in 2014. Since his return, there have been reports of tension among the higher-ups within the company, and if the Autosport report is accurate, everything may have come to a head when Dennis failed to come through on acquiring a full controlling stake on the company because he couldn’t raise the money to complete the buyout.
Personally, I don’t know what to make of this situation yet. I do know that McLaren’s auto division is unlikely to be affected so that’s a promising start. But the rest of the company appears to at least be in a state of influx, and it wouldn’t be shocking if Dennis’ involvement with the company he effectively started comes to an end sooner than later.
Read our full review on the 1993 McLaren F1 here.