Currently reading: Confirmed: Ron Dennis sells entire McLaren stake
Ultra-successful company boss bows out of McLaren after 37 years, selling his shares for a reported £275 million
Jim Holder
3 mins read
29 June 2017

Ron Dennis, the man who led the McLaren team that created the iconic F1 road car, established today’s standard-setting road car division and scooped numerous Formula 1 world titles, setting the standards by which teams in the sport today operate, is selling all of his shares in the firm for an undisclosed sum.

The move ends a 37-year association between the two sides, which began when the team was struggling for success in F1 in 1980. Today, the McLaren Group is valued at £2.4 billion.

The split will be formalised by Dennis transferring his remaining 25% stake in McLaren Technology Group and 11% shareholding of McLaren Automotive. He is reported to have received £275 million for the shares and, as such, he will have no role at McLaren in future. The deal is expected to complete in "the next days or months".

The news also means the formation of the McLaren Group - the new holding company of McLaren Technology Group and McLaren Automotive. Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa will become McLaren Group's executive chairman, while The Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and TAG Group will remain as majority shareholders. Mike Flewitt continues in his role as boss of McLaren Automotive and Jonathan Neale and Zak Brown also stay in their roles leading McLaren Technology Group.

The company said it had secured finance in order to acquire Dennis's shareholdings as well as"stimulate growth in its wider businesses and consolidate its financial arrangements". A McLaren spokesman said the new investment would be used for its technology arm.

Dennis, who turned 70 this month, was awarded a CBE in 2000. He rose to prominence when he was placed in charge of the then struggling McLaren team in 1980, and soon led it back to race victories and world championships. Drivers who won world titles while he was at the helm of McLaren were Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Häkkinen and Lewis Hamilton.

Dennis and his co-owners of the McLaren Group fell out in around 2014 for unspecified reasons. This triggered a chain of events where he attempted to buy McLaren back from them. However, when he was unable to raise the funds to do so, they effectively sidelined him at the end of 2016 by removing him from any positions of control of the company he part-owned.

Speaking about the announcement, Dennis said: "I am very pleased to have reached agreement with my fellow McLaren shareholders. It represents a fitting end to my time at McLaren and will enable me to focus on my other interests. I have always said that my 37 years at Woking should be considered as a chapter in the McLaren book, and I wish every success as it takes the story forward."

bin Essa Al Khalifa commented: "There will be time in the near future to outline our plans, for the coming months and years will be an extremely exciting time in the story of McLaren. But now, today, it is appropriate that we pause to express our gratitude to Ron. So, on behalf of McLaren and all who sail in her, may I say three heartfelt words: thank you, Ron."


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Read our review

Car review
McLaren 570S

Is this a genuine supercar slayer for top-rank sports car money, and can it see off rivals from Porsche, Audi and Aston Martin in the process?

Back to top

Yesterday, McLaren Automotive announced its fourth year of profits in only its sixth year of existence. The company is believed by some analysts to have be more successful financially than any six-year-old car company in history.

Opinion: will Ron one day outshine Enzo?

Join the debate


30 June 2017
I grew up being a McLaren fan in the 80's and following them since then, so this is a sad day for motorsport that one of its pioneers and truly iconic leaders should be ousted and then cast aside this way. The road cars are a phenomenal success for the company and also a vision of Ron Dennis via the original legendary F1. Good luck to him in the future, but sad that it came to this parting of the ways.

30 June 2017
McLaren is quite simply no longer McLaren.

Just imagine Fiat sacking Enzo, a man far more difficult than Ron?

30 June 2017
But Enzo has been dead a long time and Ferrari has prospered. McLaren can too. Dennis has had a phenomenal career and I hope he now enjoys his retirement - perhaps dabbling in the odd venture or two. The company he built is doing fine and made him rich.

30 June 2017
Love to know what Ron's views are on Ferrari World and such like, his next book might reveal all now he's not constrained by his 'employer'

30 June 2017
Looking at the cold and hard facts it cannot be denied that under Ron Dennis McLaren have been phenomenal and set new standards, both on the race track and on the road. On the race track Ferrari tugs at the heart strings of so many people through its passion and emotion, but take that away and McLaren are right up their with Ferrari. And hasn't McLaren got a higher percentage of wins per races entered compared with Ferrari, especially during Ron's era? And as for the road cars, under Ron McLaren has developed a range of cars that are simply sublime, raising new standards but at the same time being ever so desirable, probably more so now than Ferrari and Lamborghini. It could be argued that McLaren are already now the greatest sports car maker ever. While they have produced what are easily 2 of the greatest hypercars ever in the F1 and P1. And under Ron McLaren have developed new, and completely new innovative, technologies and manufacturing processes while also setting a whole new bar when it comes to quality and build standards, where perfection simply isn't good enough. The F1 really brought McLaren to the world's attention, showing what could be achieved rather than settling for the norm and 'that'll do attitude'. Here was a car that somehow totally exceeded the performance expectations of what 627bhp could do and all that was down to McLaren's ingenuity and technical and engineering prowess. And it was a car that was exquisitely built but was also practical and could be used every day. The F1 summed up what McLaren has achieved and what it has become under Ron. And that McLaren now produces a supercar that is as quick as a hypercar through the 720S says it all. You'll be missed Ron but you've set a legacy and a standard that will be hard to beat.

30 June 2017
I wonder if Ron will set up a new company to develop and build a road car to take on McLaren? He has the contacts and the draw, plus everyone is aware of the standards he sets and expects which only makes such a prospect more intriguing and tempting. If only he could find out where Gordon Murray is.....

30 June 2017
I'll be very surprized if there isn't a clause in his "leaving" contract restricting what he can do and who he can do it with, for a period. Standard business practice!

30 June 2017
He'll never be short of work while there's a need for a Ray Wilkins lookalike.

30 June 2017
Feeble maths Jim. And copying sensational figures without questioning them.

If it was worth £2.4bn, he wouldn't have sold his shares for £275m would he?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week