Ron Dennis pictured at the McLaren Technology Centre
McLaren Technology Group CEO Ron Dennis has stepped down from his role, and his contract won't be renewed when it expires in January.
69-year-old Dennis has been involved with McLaren for 36 years, but a decision has been taken by shareholders to place him on gardening leave.
Dennis will, however, remain a member of the boards of the McLaren Technology Group and McLaren Automotive, but loses his position at the helm.
He said in a statement today "The grounds they [the shareholders] 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 1 world championships and grown into an £850 million-a-year business."
Dennis added that the representatives of TAG and Mumtalakat, who are the other main shareholders in McLaren, ignored warnings from the management team about "consequences of their actions on the business".
The McLaren group is made up of McLaren Racing, McLaren Marketing and McLaren Applied Technologies. The brand’s car division, McLaren Automotive, isn't part of the group, and therefore won't be affected by this leadership change. A spokesman for the division told Autocar last month that despite the fact Dennis owns 10% of Automotive, he has no day-to-day involvement with the business. The company is run by CEO Mike Flewitt.
Dennis, who owns 25% of the McLaren Technology Group, had wanted to purchase an additional 50% of the group from the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and 25% from his business partner Mansour Ojjeh when it became clear he could be ousted, but failed to raise the capital by the required deadlines.
"My first concern is to the business I have built, and to its 3500 employees," continued Dennis in his statement. "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 that he will launch a new technology investment fund once his contract ends at McLaren.
"This will capitalise on my expertise, my financial resources, together with external investment to pursue the many commercial opportunities I have been offered in recent years but have been unable to take up while being so committed to the existing business," he concluded.