PARIS — Mansour Ojjeh, a key shareholder of McLaren who wielded influence in the world of Formula One racing and previously owned Tag Heuer — he added “Tag” to the watchmaker’s name — died at age 68, according a statement on the website of the McLaren group.
“The passing of Mansour [Ojjeh] has devastated everyone at McLaren,” McLaren Racing chief executive officer Zak Brown said in a statement. “Mansour was a titan of our sport, yet modest, unassuming and disarming to all he encountered,” he added.
Born in Syria, the executive studied in France and the U.S. and conducted business in France and Saudi Arabia. He straddled a range of sectors including airlines and real estate, in addition to motorsports.
In 1975, he established the Techniques Avant Garde or Tag Group, a holding company for his investments, which included motor racing.
In 1985, he bought the historic Swiss watchmaker Heuer, combining names to become Tag Heuer, which gained international fame.
In 1999, he sold the label, which now belongs to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Tag Heuer ceo Frédéric Arnault posted a photo of Ojjeh on Instagram Sunday, showing the smiling, tanned executive on a mobile phone wearing reflective sunglasses. Arnault wrote “RIP Mansour Ojjeh.”
Ojjeh, who underwent a double lung transplant in 2013, passed away in Geneva, according to McLaren.