F1 supremo Ecclestone rules out being reined in

Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:12pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed talk of a new chairman trying to 'rein him in' and says he plans to continue running the company as if he owned it.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the 84-year-old billionaire made clear it was business as usual.

Ecclestone said he was back on the board of Formula One, after standing down during a bribery trial in Germany that was eventually settled, and only the board could remove him as chief executive.

"I’m happy here as long as the board are happy with me. When I think I can’t deliver any longer, I shall retire," he said.

Private equity group CVC, Formula One's controlling shareholder, is seeking a new chairman to replace the unwell Peter Brabeck-Letmathe and that has led to suggestions that Ecclestone's grip could be weakened.

Brabeck, the Austrian chairman of food group Nestle, was appointed in 2012 when Formula One was preparing a flotation that was scrapped. Paul Walsh, former head of drinks group Diageo, has been touted as a likely replacement.

Management Today this week quoted a source close to Walsh as saying he "would want to rein in (Ecclestone) to some extent from a good governance point of view."

He added that Walsh would get "short-tempered" if Ecclestone did not change his ways.   Continued...

Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone looks on as he attends an event at a hotel ahead of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix, in Singapore September 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Xavier Galiana