Fleet Street cite Ron Dennis’ management style as reason the board forced him to step down from his role as Chairman and CEO of McLaren, while identifying Zak Brown and James Allison as potential replacements.
Dennis was forced to relinquish his positions following a board meeting on Tuesday.
In a statement addressing his enforced resignation from the positions, Dennis said: “The grounds they 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 One world championships.”
And it is that unwillingness to change his management style that Fleet Street believe caused Dennis’ exit.
‘The combative Dennis has clashed in recent weeks with Mumtalakat, the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund that owns 50 per cent of McLaren, and with Saudi businessman Mansour Ojjeh, who controls 25 per cent,” wrote Oliver Brown in The Telegraph.
‘They are understood to have become uneasy at his micromanaging approach – Dennis likes, for instance, every room at the group’s Woking headquarters to be set to his favourite temperature of 21c.’
Jonathan McEvoy concurred in the Daily Mail writing that Dennis ‘clearly feels upset at being forced out by his fellow shareholders, Saudi businessman Mansour Ojjeh and the Bahrain royal family, who feel that they want a more modern management structure rather than the ‘Ron show’, whereby he was front and back of house.’
Writing along a similar vein, The Guardian’s Paul Weaver said the board felt that Dennis’ management style was now holding McLaren back.
‘In recent times, McLaren have struggled to recapture old glories and Dennis is no longer viewed as the man to revive their ailing spirit; in fact, the style that made this ruthlessly single-minded and most driven of men so successful is now viewed as something of a handicap when it comes to development. He was always more autocratic than collegiate,’ wrote Weaver.
Attention now turns to who could replace Dennis, with American businessman Zak Brown thought to be the front runner and former Ferrari technical chief James Allison also linked with a move to McLaren.
‘American businessman Zak Brown has 48 hours to decide whether he will take over from Ron Dennis,’ wrote Kevin Eason in The Times.
‘Even as Dennis condemned his removal, his job was on offer to one of the most sought-after men in world sport. Brown is faced with a choice of running one of the biggest names in Formula 1 – or the entire show.
‘Sources told The Times that Brown has been offered both the job at McLaren and the chance to succeed Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1’s chief executive.
‘Reliable sources say that he has firm offers on the table and must make a decision this week.’
The Guardian and Daily Mail concurred that Brown as a likely choice for McLaren, but The Telegraph through other names into the mix.
‘Martin Whitmarsh, former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn and marketing guru Zak Brown are all potential contenders,’ wrote Brown.
‘Eric Boullier, likewise, could step up from his role as team principal, and there is a possibility that James Allison could be poached after his departure from Ferrari.’
F1 Midweek Report
November 16, 2016, 8:30pm
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