The McLaren Group has announced the appointment of Ben Priest as its new vice president, Americas – Partnership Development to spearhead the company’s focus on commercial interests in the United States.
McLaren is currently going through a period of change following the resignation of long-running chairman Ron Dennis at the end of last year.
Dennis spent 35 years at the helm of McLaren, but was replaced by American commercial expert Zak Brown, who became executive director.
On Thursday, McLaren announced the arrival of Priest in a new role, having previously worked with Brown at marketing agency JMI.
“Based in New York and reporting to CEO Ekrem Sami, Ben joins the Partner Development team at McLaren Marketing, the global sports and technology brand’s dedicated in-house activation agency,” a statement from McLaren reads.
“Tasked with developing innovative partnerships for McLaren throughout his territory, with a particular focus on Silicon Valley as the spiritual heart of the US technology and innovation industry, Ben brings to McLaren his considerable marketing agency expertise.
“Most recently Vice President of Business Development at a leading New York agency that represents many iconic athletes, Ben has spent the majority of his career in motorsport.
“After co-founding his own agency, he previously led the North America Partnership Development division for JMI, the largest global motorsport marketing agency, and was involved in consulting the entry to motor racing for several of the most prominent new brands in recent years.
“His appointment forms a key part of an ambitious global marketing strategy aimed at utilising the global reach and power of McLaren as an iconic sports and technology brand that now includes its fast-growing McLaren Applied Technologies business.”
“I’d like to welcome Ben to McLaren as part of our ambitious global marketing strategy,” Brown said.
“He brings with him considerable expertise that will help us unlock new business in the US and, in particular Silicon Valley, where there are fantastic, untapped opportunities for our brand.”
“I’m extremely excited and proud to be joining the team at McLaren,” Priest added.
“I have a great deal of respect for the company both as a race team and, increasingly, as an exciting technology brand with innovation at the heart of everything we do.
“North America, and the US in particular, presents a fantastic growth opportunity for us, and one which I’m already very focused on exploring.”
Brown recently spoke to NBC Sports about the need for Formula 1 to grow its presence in the United States, believing that a second race would help its efforts to crack into a market brimming with potential.
Priest’s appointment marries up with Brown’s focus on the United States, and comes at a time when McLaren is lacking a title sponsor that could add an injection of cash to its F1 efforts.