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Martin Whitmarsh One Week In - The former McLaren CEO joined BAR - the team to bring the Cup home - this month
A week into his new job, the Chief Executive Officer of Ben Ainslie Racing talks about how he got here, and where he sees the company going.

When the head-hunters called one of the aerospace industry's brightest talents and told him that they had an opportunity at a small engineering and racing organisation they probably weren't expecting a very positive response. After all, Martin Whitmarsh was a very young CEO, and a founding director of Aerostructures Hamble Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of BAe plc. The job the head-hunters had in mind was tiny in comparison, just a hundred employees and a turnover of 19 million but it was at a company called McLaren International, whose business was racing Formula One cars.

It wasn't a logical career move," explained Martin Whitmarsh of the choice that defined the next 25 years of his life, "but it was an unavoidable and unmissable opportunity that I had to go and do. Everyone thought I was mad to leave that job where I appeared to have some success and a large organisation of thousands of people working for me to join a little team, but I never had time or thought or occasion to regret it." Twenty five years later, when Whitmarsh left McLaren, the team were employing over 3,000 people and had a turnover of 650 million.

Another year on, and Whitmarsh finds himself at the head of another small racing organisation, and sees exactly the same opportunity for growth. "We grew McLaren within Formula One," he said, "but we also realised that racing was a volatile business, and if we were going to have a sustainable business, we needed to diversify and use our technology, our capability and, ultimately, our brand to spawn a range of other businesses. And so we founded McLaren Automotive, Applied Technologies, Electronics and all the rest. It was a fairly significant metamorphosis from the race team that I joined. It was an interesting and exciting path." And one that was already regarded by Team Principal, Ben Ainslie even before Whitmarsh arrived as a model for BAR.

Read on further at BenAinslieRacing.com

Photo : Ben Ainslie Racing
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