Ron Dennis has stepped down from his role as chairman of McLaren after failing in a High Court bid to prevent the board from placing him on gardening leave until his contract expires at the end of the year.
Dennis, who will retain his 25% stake in McLaren Technology Group, had been under ever increasing pressure from his Saudi-born business partner Mansour Ojjeh, who also has a 25% share, and the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund, Mumtaklakat, which owns the remaining 50%.
“I am disappointed that the representatives of TAG and Mumtalakat, the other main shareholders in McLaren, have forced through this decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest of the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business,” Dennis said.
“Throughout that time I have worked closely with a series of talented colleagues to keep McLaren at the cutting edge of technology, to whom I will always be extremely grateful.”
The move will see Dennis end his 36 year association with the McLaren brand; a period that has seen McLaren win ten drivers world championships with Niki Lauda (1984), Alain Prost (1985, 1986 & 1989), Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990 & 1991), Mika Hakkinen (1998, 1999) and Lewis Hamilton (2008) along with seven constructors’ titles.
Since successfully overseeing Lewis Hamilton’s maiden world championship, Dennis has failed to return the team to the top of the pile – McLaren now having gone 18 years without a constructors title.
Dennis was never going to go quietly and ended his statement with a pointed comment aimed directly at the board.
“Ultimately it has become clear to me through this process that neither TAG nor Mumtalakat share my vision for McLaren and its true growth potential.
“But my first concern is to the business I have built and to its 3,500 employees. 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.”