McLaren Automotive, the supercar division of McLaren Group, has been without a CEO since last October, when Mike Flewitt, who had led the company since 2013, stepped down.
That situation changes on July 1 when Michael Leiters takes over as CEO of the supercar division, McLaren Group announced on Wednesday.
Leiters, 50, has an engineering background and in his last role served as chief technology officer at Ferrari, a role he stepped down from last December. Prior to joining Ferrari, he was a senior engineer at Porsche, where he oversaw a lot of the automaker’s early work with hybrid technology.
McLaren Automotive has a 3,000-strong workforce spanning its global operations, including the headquarters at main plant in Woking, U.K., and the carbon-fiber production facility in Sheffield, U.K. Following the departure of Flewitt, the company has been run in the interim by Michael Macht. He’s a non-executive director at McLaren Group and incidentally was the CEO of Porsche from 2009 to 2010.
McLaren Automotive is the most lucrative arm of McLaren Group, which also includes the McLaren Formula One team. However, the division was hit particularly hard by the pandemic and is yet to fully recover. It had to shed workers, and its McLaren Group parent had to sell and lease back its headquarters, sell a stake in the F1 team, and sell the McLaren Applied technology business. McLaren Group also needed additional investment from main shareholder Bahrain and new shareholder Saudi Arabia.
The appointment of a new CEO at McLaren Automotive comes at a time when there are reports of a possible takeover of McLaren Group by Audi as an avenue for it to enter F1, possibly by 2026 when a new power unit is due to be introduced.