By Staff writer
Possible successors include former F1 bosses Ross Brawn and Martin Whitmarsh, as well as Justin King, the former head of UK retailer Sainsbury’s
McLaren boss Ron Dennis is reportedly set to leave his position at the end of the year, following a decision by fellow shareholders to bring in someone new to lead the automotive conglomerate.
Just days after "categorically" saying he was not stepping down as CEO and chairman of McLaren Technology Group, the parent company of the Formula 1 team and the car manufacturer, a fresh report quoting “insiders” said Dennis will leave the post at the end of the year, according to BBC Sport.
The UK broadcaster said the decision has been made by shareholders not to new Dennis’ contract, which is believed to run out at the end of this year. Those mooted as possible successors include former F1 bosses Ross Brawn and Martin Whitmarsh, as well as Justin King, the former head of UK retailer Sainsbury’s.
In response to the latest story, McLaren issued a denial, saying that Dennis is "not stepping down".
“He (Dennis) remains contracted as chairman and chief executive officer of McLaren Technology Group, and he retains a 25% shareholding in the Group - exactly equal to that of Mansour Ojjeh,” the statement added.
"Over many years, many decades in fact, McLaren shareholders have often entered into dialogue on the subject of potential equity movements and realignments, and Ron and Mansour have always been central to those discussions.
"That is still the case. Their recent conversations can therefore be categorised as 'more of the same'.
"However, it would be inappropriate to reveal further details of such discussions, which are of course private and confidential."
An end to his stewardship would draw to a close a 35-year association with McLaren, during which time he has developed the company into a successful F1 team, as well as a manufacturer of luxury sports cars.
Dennis, who started in Formula One in the 1960s and has been involved with McLaren since 1980, stood down as team boss in 2009 but returned as group chief executive in January 2014.
McLaren also changed their name in 2014 to McLaren Technology Group, incorporating the car company and applied technologies as well as the F1 team.
BBC reports that Dennis has endured an “uncomfortable relationship” with Saudi-born Mansour Ojjeh, who like Dennis owns 25% of McLaren Group. Bahrain is the principal shareholder of the company, with 50% held by the kingdom's Mumtalakat investment fund.
Quoting insiders, BBC reports that say Ojjeh and the Bahrainis have decided to make their move and bring in someone new.
McLaren, the sport's second most successful team historically, have not won a race since 2012 and have struggled on the track since they started a new partnership with Honda last season.