CVC Co-Founder Says Shareholder Would Fire F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone If Found Guilty
F1 shareholder CVC co-Founder Donald Mackenzie told a court on Monday that he "would not hesitate to sack" F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone if "he had committed a crime in his dealings with a jailed German banker," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Mackenzie denied that Ecclestone "was being kept in his post because of his importance to the business." Mackenzie said in London's High Court, "If it is proven that Mr. Ecclestone has done anything that is criminally wrong, we would fire him." Mackenzie, a "deal-maker who tends to avoid the media spotlight," told the court that Ecclestone "had apologised for not immediately telling him about a multi-million dollar payment made to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky after Gribkowsky's arrest" in Jan. '11. Mackenzie recalled a meeting with Ecclestone in Feb. '11 at which Ecclestone "told him of the payment, despite earlier denials." Mackenzie told the court, "He told me that he had had a meeting with one of his colleagues who had reminded him that he had made payments to Gribkowsky and he apologised for having forgotten this. He told me he had never lied to me and I must say that I had trouble believing you could forget payment of $40 million." Pressed about how lucrative the CVC investment had been, Mackenzie said that "it was one of the fund's top 10 deals but it had come at the price of some negative headlines." Mackenzie told the court, "It is a successful investment apart from the adverse publicity and this is a good example of it" (REUTERS, 11/18).