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BAT strengthens its hand in BAR

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO, the principle shareholder in British American Racing, is to take a stronger hand in the management of the team. The team has confirmed management changes which have taken place in recent weeks with front man Craig Pollock being moved into a new role as president and chief executive, rather than as managing-director. Pollock will "be accountable for the overall health of the company" and ensure value to all the stakeholders.

The actual running of the team will pass to four vice-presidents: two from BAT and two from Reynard Motorsport. The most important of these is undoubtedly BAT's head of global sponsorships Tom Moser, who has been seconded to the team to look after corporate issues. This job will include looking after commercial, marketing, legal and "human resources". He will also be in charge of finance as the team's vice-president Neil Wadey (also on secondment from BAT) will report to him.

The operational side of the team will be run by Reynard's Rick Gorne while Adrian Reynard will remain in overall control of technical matters.

The moves are being interpreted as a clear sign that BAT wants a more direct hand in the running of the team and while Pollock may appear to have been moved sideways, there is no doubt that he is still very much protected by Moser - who remains the real power in the team. As long as Moser can control opinion within BAT the team will be safe from earthquakes. There has been a lot of griping within BAT ranks because of the branding mess and the lack of results but at the moment it seems that Moser is not under threat.

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