Motor racing-Walsh was not offered F1 role, says Ecclestone

Sun Jun 7, 2015 1:01pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MONTREAL, June 7 (Reuters) - Former Diageo boss Paul Walsh has not joined the Formula One Group as a non-executive director despite the appointment being announced last year, Bernie Ecclestone said on Sunday.

"He wasn't offered a position. It was in discussion but...that's it," Ecclestone, the 84-year-old Briton who runs the commercial side of the sport for controlling shareholder CVC, told Reuters at the Canadian Grand Prix.

"I don't know whether he was going to get offered a position or not but at the time he couldn't say 'yes, I'm going to be whatever'."

Walsh was touted in the media last year as a potential future chairman of Formula One -- whose current incumbent Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is unwell -- with others speculating he could ultimately take over from Ecclestone.

Private equity group CVC had announced in a statement on December 18 that Walsh would become a non-executive director effective from January 1.

Former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo was another appointment while Ecclestone was reappointed to the board after a period off it during a bribery trial in Germany that was resolved with a $100 million payment.

Walsh was chief executive of drinks company Diageo from 2000 to 2013 and is chairman of Compass Group.

Comments in Management Today last December, attributed to a source close to Walsh, indicated he "would want to rein in (Ecclestone) to some extent from a good governance point of view" if appointed.

Ecclestone responded then by telling reporters: "He would be unique if he could do that. First he's got to be appointed, hasn't he?" (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Douglas Beattie)