Dennis replaces Whitmarsh as McLaren Group CEO

2014 F1 season

Ron Dennis, McLaren, 2012Ron Dennis has returned to the role of McLaren Group chief executive officer, a position Martin Whitmarsh has held since 2009.

The move comes five years to the day since Whitmarsh took over from Dennis as team principal.

Dennis’s new responsibilities will include examining the competitiveness of their racing outfit. Last year McLaren failed to score a podium finish all season. The last time that happened was in 1980, when Dennis first took control of the company.

“My fellow shareholders have mandated me to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance,” said Dennis.

“Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimising every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them.

“During February, I will articulate a new Group strategy and implement the organisational structure best suited to achieving it. I am excited by the prospect of returning to the role of group chief executive officer and working with my many colleagues and fellow shareholders to fulfil our objective ?ǣ which is to win at whatever we do.”

Dennis stepped backed from the company’s racing activities to take charge of their car production project. Since then they have launched the MP4-12C and P1 models.

McLaren will launch their 2014 F1 contender, the MP4-29, next week.

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92 comments on Dennis replaces Whitmarsh as McLaren Group CEO

  1. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 16th January 2014, 19:08

    Never really liked Ron, but I think that McLaren made the right decision here.

  2. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 16th January 2014, 19:18

    Good. Now he can whip their hides back into shape for 2015.

  3. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 16th January 2014, 19:19

    Good to hear some more Ronspeak. Nobody mangles English quite like he does.

  4. Pete (@repete86) said on 16th January 2014, 19:30

    I guess Alonso’s staying at Ferrari then…

  5. Hamish said on 16th January 2014, 19:38

    Headline should read “McLaren finds balls, reattaches.”

  6. Jueta (@eljueta) said on 16th January 2014, 19:43

    Oh 2014, it is ON :D

  7. Morty Vicar (@mortyvicar) said on 16th January 2014, 19:56

    Good. I’m not Ron’s biggest fan and I despair of “Ronspeak” but Martin Whitmarsh has been at best ineffectual and at worst indecisive. McLaren deserves to be in the top 3 where it has historically been in the decades I’ve been an F1 fan. I only hope that Ross Brawn will become team principal and do unto Mercedes what he did to the rest of the F1 field with Honda/Brawn in 2009… (and with Ferrari in 97-06)

  8. IDR (@idr) said on 16th January 2014, 19:59

    So, Martin is still Team Principal?
    Then they return more less to the previous status Ron the Boss and Martin the yes-man.

    I never liked Ron Dennis because I don’t like that kind management stile (I’m involved in everything and people must follow my instructions), but it’s true that people used to work under that kind of management stile is not ready to take more responsibilities basically because they are not used to think and act. They just follow orders.

    Martin Whitmarsh is that kind of person, and unfortunately he has not been able to broke that situation.

    In any case IMHO, I think McLaren has taken a step backwards. Ron is over his maximum competence and McLaren is not going to be ready to make a big leap in order to recover the winning rute.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 16th January 2014, 22:33

      I agree. I think Ron’s form of leadership is too “dictatorial”. And I also think McLaren have gone backwards. Of course, I’m sure some things might run more efficiently in now, but it will not be as easy for him this time around. In this case, only time will tell.

  9. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 16th January 2014, 20:06

    I’m not a fan of Ron’s personality, but he’s damn good at what he does. McLaren needs a serious overhaul after the disaster that was 2013, and he’s by far the best man to get it done.

  10. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 16th January 2014, 20:10

    Not a Ron Dennis fan, but McLaren must do something different than what they have been doing. A definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and then expect different results.

    It is probably too late to effect much design change on the 2014 car, but certainly all phases of the racing operations can be improved throughout the 2014 season and in anticipation of 2015 and the new McLaren/Honda era. It could be argued that this should have been done long before the 2014 season, but that’s why I think the focus is more toward 2015 while trying not to lose any more ground to the rest of the field in 2014.

    To his credit, Ron Dennis is a fierce competitor and that is what McLaren needs now. My guess is he will not retake the team principal job. I don’t think Whitmarsh will last the season, but may remain until his replacement is ready to come on board. Perhaps, Ross Brawn.

  11. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 16th January 2014, 20:27

    Not exactly a resounding endorsement of Martin Whitmarsh’s ability to lead McLaren. Was McLaren’s worst season in over 30 years enough to bring Ron Dennis back to a position of power over the F1 team? And is this demotion of Whitmarsh a prelude to him being removed as team principal in the near future?

    Uncertainty and instability is never a good thing for an F1 team, and with there being plenty of that over McLaren’s engine suppliers both this year and next, I’d be worried that the effects on the F1 team could be profound. However, if there’s one man that can right McLaren it’s Ron Dennis.

  12. dot_com (@dot_com) said on 16th January 2014, 21:10

    This is exactly what McLaren needed to do. I’m sure Whitmarsh will be working elsewhere within the year.

  13. Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 16th January 2014, 21:21

    I have a feeling McLaren might start winning again now.

  14. MarkM (@mpmark) said on 16th January 2014, 21:46

    its looking like McLaren are set for 2015, with Dennis back in control and Honda having the huge advantage to sit and watch an entire year I wouldn’t be surprised if they become the team to beat.

  15. nickfrog (@nickfrog) said on 16th January 2014, 22:05

    The crucial question of course is… will that fetching black leather jacket make a return too ?

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