To be fair to the Formula 1 press, they’ve been bird-dogging the departure of Zak Brown from CMS/JMI for a few weeks and had all but placed him at Liberty Media or McLaren and that’s a job well done on their part because it was announced yesterday that the former marketing guru would be joining the folks in Woking sans Ron Dennis. Zak said:
“I’m immensely proud to be joining McLaren Technology Group,” said Brown.
“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.
“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’s many existing strengths, and building on them to drive future success in everything we do.”
Before you get the impression he’s running the entire ship, that’s not exactly what is happening. He’s head of marketing and racing but the owners are still searching for a CEO for the group.
That makes sense as Brown is key to dig in to bringing McLaren back to the forefront of racing and brand appeal. I think it would be difficult to blame Ron Dennis or others at McLaren for the lack of a title sponsor in the range of $50M but then again, if you were looking for that, there’s no one better than Zak to find one.
The appointment is all part of a major restructuring the company says it is going through and that smacks of Ferrari’s words after firing much of their senior management including it’s CEO, Luca di Montezemolo. I still feel that Zak would have been good as the CMO for F1 new owners but in reality, they may have their own person in mind for that and being a part of a fantastic team like McLaren is not a bad gig if you can get it.