Chief Executive Officer Nick Fry to leave Mercedes in latest management change
Toto Wolff to take on Englishman's commercial responsibilities
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 22/03/13 1:44pm
Nick Fry: Leaving the Brackley-based team after 11 years
Nick Fry is to leave his position of Chief Executive Officer with Mercedes at the start of next month, the team have confirmed.
In the latest stage of what is proving to be a comprehensive management revamp at the Brackley-based outfit, team stalwart Fry will be replaced by Toto Wolff, Mercedes' newly-appointed executive director.
Fry's long-expected departure was described in earlier media reports as 'amicable', with a consultancy role for the 56-year-old "until at least the end of 2014" since confirmed by the team.
Fry first joined the Brackley team when it was known as BAR to the role of Managing Director in 2002, ultimately becoming Team Principal by the time the outfit was fully bought out by Honda and oversaw Jenson Button's first career victory in Hungary in 2006.
The Englishman then moved into his current CEO role when Ross Brawn was hired as team boss in late 2007, a position he held through the outfit's subsequent transitions into Brawn GP - which he played a central role in establishing - and, finally, Mercedes.
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"I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with our team for the last 11 years and remain extremely proud of the fact that we took the team to its first race win and especially the double World Championship in 2009," Fry said in a statement issued by the team.
"Equally important is the success of our commercial activities as we have managed to gain the support of some of the most important companies in the world, thereby building a strong foundation for the future success of the team.
"I believe that Mercedes AMG Petronas offers the best sponsorship proposition in Formula 1 and I look forward to continuing to assist the team and its partners over the coming years."
Speaking to reporters at Sepang later on Friday, Wolff said he had already in effect taken on many of the same things Fry was responsible for and stressed that Mercedes "don't want to have an overload in management".
"It [Wolff's role] will not change because that's my job since the beginning of the year We analysed pretty early that there will probably be an overlay between the two of us," Wolff said.
"We don't want to have an overload in management; that has been the cliché of the company. It was pretty clear from early on that I'm going to take on part of Nick's role and this is what I've been doing since January actually.
"We're not at the end of the road in restructuring the commercial department. Nick's role was very much on the sponsorship side. I'm going to continue looking after key accounts but I'm not going to head the commercial department. This is something I'm going to restructure."
Since the conclusion of the 2012 season and the signing of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes' management set-up has been in a constant state of flux with Norbert Haug standing down as their motorsport boss to be replaced by Wolff, recruited from Williams, while Niki Lauda was appointed non-executive chairman in January.
The team are also expected to hire McLaren's now-former Technical Director Paddy Lowe - who has been placed on gardening leave by McLaren for the remainder of his current contract - for 2014, with Ross Brawn's future subject to incessant speculation since Mercedes' interest in Lowe became public knowledge.
However, Mercedes' promising start to 2013 has seemingly strengthened Brawn's position, with The Guardian crediting Wolff for calming 'the considerably troubled waters' since his arrival.