Josh Capito, McLaren’s new chief executive officer (CEO), intends to do some shake up of the racing team.
McLaren announced last month that Capito, former Volkswagen director of motor sports, will be taking over as the team’s CEO in May. He succeeds Jonathan Neale, who had been acting CEO for the past 22 months and has been reassigned as chief operating officer for the McLaren Technology Group (MTG). The team said in an Autosport report that Capito will remain with the VW rally team until a replacement is named.
Capito is responsible for leading VW to its third straight World Rally Championship title last year, while McLaren performed poorly in Formula One, finishing ninth in the constructors’ championship. Capito said he intends to make changes to McLaren’s matrix management system, in which the staff have more than one manager, depending on the specific task that they are doing.
“I have the freedom to do what needs to be done,” Capito said in an interview with Autosport. “At the moment, it’s quite the matrix.”
He also said he believes his experience working with Yamaha on a commercial project during his time at Sauber Petronas Engineering from 1996 to 2001 will help.
“You have to make the relationships work,” he said. “It’s always a challenge to bring a team together and it’s a bit more difficult if you have part of the team in a different continent or if there is a different culture. But I have worked with the Japanese in the past, so I have quite a good experience with that,” Capito added.
MTG Executive Chairman and CEO Ron Dennis told Autosport he approached Capito in the summer of 2015 to take the job.
“He is an extremely impressive, competitive and ambitious individual, who comes to us with a very wide range of automotive and motor sports experience,” he said. “I am therefore delighted to welcome Josh to McLaren and I am certain he will work extremely well with [racing director]Eric [Boullier] and all at McLaren Racing, building on the very good work they have already done to take the McLaren-Honda program forward toward grand prix victories and world championship successes.”
Prior to joining VW in 2012, Capito had headed Ford’s Special Vehicle Team since 2001. An engineering graduate, Capito began his career in 1984 as a development engineer for BMW’s high-performance engines, then moving to Porsche in 1989 to head the Porsche Carrera Cup Organization and later overseeing all Porsche-brand racing campaigns. In Formula One, he was also chief operating officer of the Sauber Red Bull Formula One team from 1998 before joining Ford.