After 37 Years, Ron Dennis Severs All Ties with McLaren ""
Posted on: July 5, 2017

RON-DENNIS-PLACEMENT

Ron Dennis has formally severed his ties with McLaren. He is selling his stakes in both McLaren Technology Group and the carmaking McLaren Automotive division, thereby ending a 37-year association with what remains—despite a miserable season so far—the second most successful Formula 1 team of all time after Ferrari.

Much of that success should be credited to Dennis himself; his forceful personality and entrepreneurial spirit saw him recruit some of the greatest driving and engineering talents for the company’s various projects. The McLaren team was struggling when Dennis merged it with his Project Four team; the link was referenced by the fact that every McLaren racer used a model code starting with MP4 until 2016, as did the MP4-12C road car. He quickly turned around its fortunes, leading it to a period of utter domination of Formula 1 under star drivers including the great Ayrton Senna. In 1988, the team won 15 out of 16 races, and the mercurial Brazilian took his first title.

Dennis was also one of the primary movers behind the creation of the original McLaren F1, which was designed by Gordon Murray and was the first road car to use a carbon-fiber structure. He was also responsible for the establishment of McLaren Automotive, and that division nearly doubled its sales last year.

But as C/D told you last November, a boardroom bustup over McLaren’s ownership saw Dennis forced from his role as CEO, and now it seems the divorce is final. Dennis is selling his 25 percent stake in McLaren Technology and his 11 percent stake in McLaren Automotive, and although the company isn’t saying exactly to whom, it confirms that the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and TAG Group will become the unified Group’s majority shareholders. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa will become McLaren Group’s new executive chairman, but management beneath him well be unchanged, meaning Mike Flewitt remains head of McLaren Automotive.

Dennis is being adequately compensated for his loss: Although McLaren hasn’t told us the exact amount, reports elsewhere are suggesting he will receive around $355 million for his stake. Both sides insist the deal is amicable, with Dennis quoted as saying “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.”

When we interviewed Dennis in 2010, he told us that the inscription he would like on his gravestone would be: “Ron Dennis, 1947 to so-and-so, one of the world’s great entrepreneurs.”

While we’re not at that sad juncture yet, Dennis’s valediction is secure.

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