Mar.25 (Reuters) Adam Parr has resigned as chairman of F1 team Williams and will leave at the end of the week, the British team said in a statement on Monday.
The surprise move from a man who had been seen as a successor to founder and team principal Frank Williams came after the team scored their first points of the season in Malaysia on Sunday.
Williams said Parr would leave on March 30 with Nick Rose, an ex-chief financial officer of the world’s largest spirits company Diageo, appointed non-executive chairman.
Majority and controlling shareholder Frank Williams would continue to oversee the company with the support of shareholder Toto Wolff, CEO Alex Burns and the board.
“I asked Adam to join Williams at the end of 2006 to support me in the running of our team. Over five years, Adam’s achievements have surpassed my expectations and I must thank him for his service,” said Frank Williams.
“Adam leaves us on good terms to pursue a better balance in his life for which I wish him and his family well.
“He has left us in good shape and I have every confidence that the board and senior management team at Williams will continue to drive the business forward into a promising future,” added the founder, who turns 70 next month.
Williams endured their worst season last year with just five points from 19 races.
The nine-times constructors’ title winners surpassed that meagre points tally in one afternoon at the rain-interrupted Malaysian race on Sunday with Brazilian Bruno Senna driving from last place at the restart to an impressive sixth.
Frank Williams had announced earlier that he was stepping down from the board, while remaining as team principal, with his daughter Claire joining from April 1.
Parr had already taken over much of the day-to-day running of the company that was floated in Frankfurt last year and was seen as having an even more hands on role in future, despite an edgy relationship with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and some of the team principals.
“If for whatever reason I couldn’t come in to do my job, Adam would fill the gap,” Williams, who has been tetraplegic since 1986 when he fractured his spine in a car accident, said earlier this year.
“He’s not a racer but, in a way, that’s probably an advantage in these distinctly commercial days. He’s very good at making financial decisions and working out cost-to-benefit. And he can hold his own in the F1 meetings.”
Parr has overseen major changes at the team as their performance on the track plummeted, with a new technical team taking the reins.
Williams have won 113 grands prix but their most recent wasas far back as 2004, while their last drivers’ title was in 1997 with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve.
“I am very grateful to Frank for giving me the opportunity to work for Williams over the past five years – a period that has been both challenging and rewarding,” Parr said in the statement.
“Williams is now set up to move forward and I wish everyone at Grove well.”