‘Bernie sees off another challenger’

Date published: December 17 2014

The search for a new Formula 1 chairman continues with former Diageo boss Paul Walsh ruling himself out of the running, according to a report.

Current chairman Brabeck-Letmathe has a long-term medical condition and is set to step down, which has led F1’s major shareholder CVC Capital Partners to line up Walsh as a replacement.

Many believed that by turning to Walsh, CVC was looking to loosen Ecclestone’s stranglehold on the sport as the new chairman was set to assume some executive responsibilities.

However, the Financial Times reports that Walsh has “walked away from plans to become chairman of the F1 board” as “he decided that the role now envisaged for him does not give him the authority and power to manage the business”.

The decision is being seen as a victory for Ecclestone, who has made it clear he is not ready to give up control and will only retire “when he thinks he can’t deliver any longer”.

Management Today claimed Walsh was ready “to rein in (Ecclestone) to some extent from a good governance point of view”, but when asked about the comment, the 84-year-old replied: “He would be unique if he could do that. First he’s got to be appointed, hasn’t he?”

Ecclestone is reportedly in favour of chief legal officer Sacha Woodward-Hill taking over from him once he steps down as chief executive.

“I think perhaps if I was controlling the board… I would probably say it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a woman being the chief executive,” he told Reuters recently.