McLaren has had some changes in the first couple of weeks of the year with Mansour Ojjeh standing down as a director of the McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive, handing over the role to his younger brother
Aziz Ojjeh. The 61-year-old Mansour underwent a double lung transplant in November and so has decided to step down temporarily and leave the work to his 59-year-old brother.
“Mansour Ojjeh is enjoying a period of rest and recuperation following his recent operation,” a team spokesman said. “For the time being, therefore, Mansour’s brother, Aziz Ojjeh, has agreed, with Mansour’s full support, to join the McLaren board on a temporary basis until such time as Mansour is fully recovered. Mansour, the Ojjeh family and TAG Holdings have a passionate love for McLaren, for motor racing and for cars in general, and Mansour intends to return to the McLaren board as soon as possible.”
The family’s McLaren shares will continue to be owned by Tag Group (Holdings). Ojjeh has been involved with racing since a visit to the Monaco Grand Prix in 1978, when he was a guest of the Saudi royal family, which was sponsoring the Williams team with its Saudia Airlines. This led to TAG becoming the Williams team’s principal sponsor in 1979 and success followed with Alan Jones winning the World Championship in 1980 and Keke Rosberg following with a second title in 1982.
At the end of 1981 McLaren’s Ron Dennis approached Ojjeh and offered him a partnership in McLaren, a deal that was obviously more attractive than simply being a sponsor and TAG then funded the Porsche-built TAG turbo engine, which began racing in 1983. McLaren-TAG would dominate the sport in 1984 and 1985 and Ojjeh then became a shareholder in the team. The main TAG empire continued to expand in many different businesses with investments in many different industry sectors, including agriculture, construction and aviation.
Aziz has previous served on the boards of various McLaren companies.