McLaren: Zak Brown accepts role after Ron Dennis' departure

Ron Dennis
Ron Dennis has run the McLaren team since 1981

Formula 1 commercial expert Zak Brown will join the McLaren Group as executive director next month, following the departure of Ron Dennis.

Brown will take on the position after Dennis was last week put on gardening leave by fellow shareholders pending the end of his contract in January.

The 45-year-old American rejected a senior position at F1's owners Liberty Media in order to accept the job.

"I'm immensely proud to be joining McLaren Technology Group," he said.

"I have the utmost respect and admiration for what the business has achieved to date, and I look forward to contributing to the next important phase in its development," Brown said in a statement.

"Having worked closely with McLaren for many years, I've been struck by the talent and ambition of the entire workforce, and I very much look forward to complementing the business' many existing strengths, and building on them to drive future success."

Dennis, 69, remains chairman and chief executive officer but following the collapse of his relationship with the other shareholders he is no longer actively engaged in running the company, although he remains a board member by virtue of his shareholding.

Dennis owns 25% of McLaren, with Bahrain's Mumtalakat sovereign investment fund having 50% and Saudi-born French businessman Mansour Ojjeh the remaining 25%.

Ojjeh and the Bahrainis forced Dennis out of the company last week after a breakdown in their relationship.

Dennis is reportedly considering whether to launch a legal action against his fellow shareholders but has already lost one bid in the High Court in which he attempted to prevent being placed on gardening leave.

Brown, who will be responsible for racing and marketing in his new position, was revealed as a major contender for a role running McLaren by BBC Sport last month and decided over the weekend to accept their offer.

McLaren to appoint Zak Brown
Brown has helped facilitate sponsorship deals for McLaren in his role with JMI

He was of particular interest to McLaren because of his success in finding sponsors for a number of teams in his former role at Just Marketing International (JMI).

"As founder of JMI - now the world's largest motorsport marketing agency - I've often worked closely with McLaren and I've developed some excellent relationships across the company," he added.

"Together we've delivered some great sponsorship deals, including Johnnie Walker, GSK, Hilton, Lenovo, Chandon and NTT.

"In my new role I'll be able to combine my absolute passion with my unparalleled area of expertise - respectively motorsport and marketing - while ensuring the two stay totally aligned."

McLaren have not had a title sponsor since parting company with mobile phone company Vodafone at the end of 2013 and Dennis' failure in that respect was among the reasons for him being forced out.

He also fell out with Ojjeh, a former friend and business partner for more than three decades, some years ago and the pair have since failed to patch up their relationship.

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