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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Peter Sauber steps back - Monisha Kaltenborn: First Female Team Principal

It's a mixed announcement, happiness for Monisha mixed with sadness for the loss that will be felt at the absence of Peter Sauber, team founder, from the pit lane.

It is with great delight that F1 can now lay claim to the first Female Team Principal the sport has ever had and that, in itself, marks an important (perhaps even historic) moment in the story of the sport.

While female drivers have tended be the focus of most of the media discussions relating to equality the role of Team Principal was never really discussed until last year when Peter Sauber handed over a one-third interest in Sauber F1 to Monisha Kaltenborn.

The new Team Principal joined Sauber in 2000 having worked for the Fritz Kaiser Group from 1998, a shareholder in the Red Bull Sauber F1 Team.  Kaltenborn ran the legal and corporate affairs of the group and, I guess Peter saw her potential at that time,

When Kaiser sold his shares in the team Monisha joined Sauber where she took control of their legal department and within a year was sitting on the Board of Management, of which she became CEO in 2010.

The Official Press release from Sauber, says that Peter had decided that he didn't want to be on the pti wall when he turned 70 - I'm sure that over the last 12/13 years he has watched Monisha progress to the point where he feels happy letting go of the steering wheel to a new and rising star of the paddock.

Delighted for you Monisha, and I just hope that Peter doesn't spend too much time looking at the gorgeous view from his weekend cottage in the Kanton Graubünden. It would be very tempting!

The Official Press Release

Baton change at the Sauber F1 Team
Hinwil/Yeongam, 11th October 2012

Some time ago, Peter Sauber announced that he did not wish to be on the pit wall when he turned 70. The company founder is proving true to his word: in two days’ time – on 13th October – he will turn 69 and is now stepping back from the day-to-day running of the team. Monisha Kaltenborn (41), CEO of Sauber Motorsport AG and responsible for business operations at Hinwil since early 2010, will additionally take over the role of Team Principal at trackside with immediate effect. Peter Sauber will continue in his capacity as President of the Board of Directors of all Sauber Group companies and remain responsible for the Group’s strategic direction.

“We decided a long time ago that Monisha would take over from me,” explains Sauber, “but we left the timing open. Now is a good time for both of us, so this is the right moment to pass on the baton. After all, there have been a number of races I’ve been unable to attend – most recently the Japanese Grand Prix, where the team put in an excellent performance. I’m in no doubt that Monisha has all the necessary skills to be an outstanding Team Principal, and I’m equally certain she will ensure that the values underpinning the company live on. That is very important to me.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, an Austrian of Indian origin, joined the company in 2000 to run the legal department, was appointed a Member of the Board of Management not long afterwards, and took over as CEO in January 2010. In late 2011 Peter Sauber transferred a third of the company’s shares into her name.

“Naturally I’m very aware of the major responsibility I have for Peter Sauber’s racing team,” says Kaltenborn. “He founded the team over 40 years ago, and in the spring it will be 20 years since Sauber lined up for its debut Formula One grand prix. We are the fourth-oldest team in Formula One. To build up a project like this and keep it alive in a difficult environment is a tremendous achievement. I have set my sights high and am committed to taking the team forward as Peter Sauber would want and leading it on to success.”