CVC appoints co-founder as F1 chairman

CVC Capital Partners co-founder Donald Mackenzie has been appointed as chairman of the company that's been plagued with bribery allegations.

Donald Mackenzie, who already sat on the board of Delta Topco, has stepped up to become chairman of the Formula One holding company, filling a role that has been vacant for several months.

A spokesman for CVC confirmed the appointment, but said it was unrelated to the criminal prosecution brought against Gerhard Gribkowsky, a former BayernLB executive who allegedly received a $44 million bribe in relation to the sale of Formula One to CVC in late 2005.

Recent press reports had suggested the firm was under pressure from investors to provide more detail on its acquisition of the business, and how that related to the bribery prosecution. CVC declined to comment.

In Germany, newspapers have reported calls by Gribkowsky's defence team for the prosecution case to be dropped.

In January this year, CVC issued a short statement in response to the bribery action brought against Gribkowsky: “CVC can confirm that it has no knowledge of these investigations, nor any circumstances surrounding them, and that we have had no contact with the relevant authorities, nor with Gribkowsky regarding this matter. CVC confirms it has no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, any payment to Gribkowsky or anyone connected with him in relation to CVC’s acquisition of Formula One.”

A few months later, it appointed accountants Ernst & Young and law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer to conduct a review of its acquisition of Formula One. The firms were understood to have given CVC a clean bill of health with regard to the deal.

In May, CVC confirmed it had received a “friendly… preliminary” approach from James Murdoch-owned Exor News Corporation with regard to Formula One, but pointed out the company was “not currently for sale”.