JULY 8, 2010
Williams hands chairmanship to Parr
Sir Frank Williams has handed over the chairmanship of Williams Grand Prix Engineering to current chief executive officer, Adam Parr.
As Williams called a press conference at Silverstone to announce the switch, many F1 stalwarts thought that 31 years on from Clay Regazzoni's historic first Williams win at the same circuit, Frank was preparing to end an era and step down. The team owner, however, rapidly allayed any such fears.
"I'm not stepping back, it's not in my mind," Williams said. "There's nothing else I want to do until I pop my clogs!
"Adam joined in 2006 as CEO. He has taken the lead in putting the team on a stronger financial footing, developing new businesses and building our social responsibility programme. These initiatives have seen us partnering with such outstanding organisations as Porsche and Cambridge University Press, respectively in hybrid technology and education. I have now asked him to step up to chairman in my place to give him both the responsibility and the authority to ensure the good aspects of the team and the company."
Parr said that seeking a shareholding in the team is "not on my agenda" and confirmed that Sir Frank remains the controlling shareholder and team principal, "and will always be the name, face and inspiration of this team."
Williams conceded that neither he nor co-owner Patrick Head, conspicuous by his absence from the announcement, are in the first flush of youth and that it is his responsibility to ensure a succession plan. "Early planning is good planning," he added. "Patrick will also continue as he has. He loves F1 and still comes into work pretty much every day. He's expecting so see everyone just as frequently as he has done."
Williams said that despite the costs involved in the F1 business, the team is not looking to have an engine manufacturer as an equity partner.
"We half got married to BMW but it didn't work out “ it was a technical partner but the English brain and the German brains were different. One day it might happen but we're not actively looking. We value our independence."
Parr added that longer-term, however, Williams would be looking to partner with a major manufacturer as an engine supplier and hopefully sponsor, as it has done with Honda and Renault in the past, but that in 2011 it will once again use Cosworth engines.
Parr's CEO role has now been taken on by Alex Burns, currently the chief operating officer.