McLaren CEO Ron Dennis Forced to Quit
It ends his 36-year stint with the team.
After more than three decades and 10 drivers' titles, McLaren CEO Ron Dennis was forced to resign today. The move, as reported by the BBC, comes after clashes amongst the three primary shareholders in the team over Dennis' autocratic management style.
Dennis holds a 25 percent stake in the Woking, England based team. His former business partner, Mansour Ojjeh, holds a further 25 percent, but the two had a falling out many years ago and Ojjeh convinced Bahraini investment fund Mumtalakat, which holds the remaining 50 percent stake, to side with him in ousting Dennis.
Dennis tried to stop the move by going to the High Court in the United Kingdom, asking the court to stop the team from putting him on "gardening leave." Unsuccessful, Dennis stepped down today and issued a statement to express his displeasure. In a statement tweeted by BBC's F1 writer Andrew Benson, Dennis said he was "disappointed" with the ousting and defends his management style, which he says hasn't changed during his tenure with the team.
McLaren recently experienced their worst season in team history, after partnering with Honda in 2015. The Honda engines failed to provide the lift the struggling team was seeking. Many blamed Dennis for this partnership and it likely played a part in the team's decision to cut ties with the 69-year-old. McLaren, a once dominant team, has also struggled with securing sponsors after the departure of telecom giant Vodafone at the end of the 2013 season.
The team hasn't won a title of any kind since Lewis Hamilton won the drivers' championship in 2008. They won their most recent of seven constructors titles in 1998. McLaren would have taken the top spot in 2007, but had their team points stripped after the Ferrari Spygate—or Stepneygate—scandal. The controversy saw McLaren obtain a copy of Ferrari intellectual design property and the team was subsequently fined $100 million for espionage.
Dennis has said he plans to launch a new technology fund following his release from McLaren.