Former Ferrari Chief Technical Officer, Michael Leiters, could be set to take on McLaren CEO role and be reunited with ex-Porsche boss Michael Macht.
Ferrari former Chief Technology Officer, Michael Leiters, is being tipped as the new CEO of McLaren Automotive, replacing Mike Flewitt who left the British supercar manufacturer in 2021 following continued delays to the Artura.
Leiters joined Ferrari in 2014 following a career at Porsche that saw him play an integral role in the Cayenne’s development. During his time at Ferrari Leiters oversaw the introduction of turbocharged mid-engined V8s, the continued development of the company’s naturally aspirated V12 models and the launch of Ferrari’s first hybrid production hyper and supercars in the SF90 and 296. His last project will see Ferrari launch its first SUV, the Purosangue later this year.
Following a management restructure carried out by Ferrari at the end of 2021 Leiters, along with chief brand diversification officer Nicola Boari and chief manufacturing officer Vincenzo Regazzoni left the company.
McLaren has been without a CEO since Flewitt’s departure in October 2021, with former Porsche CEO Michael Macht (who had recently joined McLaren’s board) running the company day-to-day on an interim basis. Leiters worked at Porsche under Macht’s stewardship, with the former a key member of Macht’s team responsible for bringing the Cayenne to market. This latest news, as first reported by Sky News, could see the two reunited in Woking.
Speculation still surrounds a possible takeover of McLaren by VW-owned Audi, who is said to be interested in buying the British company to gain entry to Formula 1 via its resurgent team. The team is currently fourth in the constructor’s world championship, with driver Lando Norris eighth in the driver’s standings. While McLaren have strongly denied the speculation of an Audi takeover, the German luxury car brand is said to have made more than one offer for the business and continues to work on its proposal. Where McLaren would sit in the Audi portfolio that already includes rival supercar manufacturer Lamborghini, remains to be seen.
While McLaren has denied it is in talks with another manufacturer regarding a takeover, it has said it is open to potential collaborations with other OEMs, which has led to suggestions that BMW is also in discussions with the British car maker. In order to deliver on its Horizon2030 strategy, which will see McLaren only offer hybrid or fully electric vehicles by the end of this decade, the company is expected to need to work with someone such as BMW on the development of new powertrains and electrical architecture, in a similar structure as Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz.
Having overseen Ferrari’s first steps to a hybrid future, as well as product diversification away from supercars, Leiters’s credentials place him in a strong position to lead McLaren to achieve its ambitions. And crucially, survival.