It’s been a tough year for Mansour Ojjeh, who is currently recovering from a double lung transplant. He is the French-Saudi-born entrepreneur who heads up Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG), a Luxembourg-based holding company. The firm owns 21 percent of the McLaren Group, the most important asset of which is the McLaren Formula One team.
Ojjeh’s passion for motor racing is renowned. His interest was first sparked by a visit to the Monaco Grand Prix in 1978 and TAG quickly became the William’s team principal sponsor a year later. In 1981, Ojjeh invested $5m in a Porsche built turbo engine for McLaren and the two firms went on to establish TAG Turbo Engines. In 1983, Ojjeh became a majority shareholder in McLaren, although details of the deal were not made public until 1985.
Ojjeh’s father is the Saudi-born businessman, Akram Ojjeh, founder of TAG. The firm was famous as an intermediary in deals between Saudi Arabia and France, particularly arms sales. Ojjeh was involved in the marketing of the French Mirage 2000 fighter jet to Saudi Arabia in competition with the British Tornado. TAG Group’s interests also include TAG Aviation, a corporate jet firm which has Europe and Asia as its main growth areas and which runs a fleet of more than 100 aircraft.