Marketing boss Sami to leave McLaren F1 team
McLaren's long-time marketing boss Ekrem Sami is to leave the Woking team as its new management structure continues to evolve.
Sami, who will remain CEO of McLaren Marketing until late March, stressed that he had made his own decision.
He has been with McLaren since he early days of the Ron Dennis era, playing a key role in all of the team's sponsorship and commercial arrangements over that period.
He had already resigned his directorship in December.
"I don't mind admitting that it feels a bit strange to be announcing that I'm moving on from McLaren, the company to which I've devoted almost all my professional life," he said. "But now is the right time.
"However, I'll continue to work on the projects with which I'm already engaged, and I expect to formalise my departure some time in late March.
"Over the past 35 years I've worked with some truly brilliant people, and I want to say thank you to them all. Our successes were a team effort in the most fundamental way.
"As for my own plans, I'm looking forward to broadening my professional outlook into the wider sports and entertainment sector, after being so immersed in the weird and wonderful world of Formula 1."
McLaren's new executive director Zak Brown, who previously worked closely with Sami on sponsorship deals via his marketing agency, was keen to praise his departing colleague.
"Whatever Ekrem chooses to do with the rest of his professional life, I'll always regard him as a McLaren man through and through," said Brown.
"His commitment and work ethic remain absolutely second to none, and I feel privileged to have worked with him for so long – not only recently as his McLaren colleague but also, over many years, as his close associate, during my time at Just Marketing International.
"Ekrem and I achieved a lot together, and I don't mind admitting that I learned a hell of a lot from him. His commitment to the McLaren cause has never wavered, and you'd have to look very hard to find a man who works harder than he does."
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