LONDON, England, Jan 21, 2013 (AFP) - Toto Wolff, an executive director with the Williams Formula One team, is leaving for a similar role with
Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd, Williams announced Monday.
Principal and majority shareholder Frank Williams will continue to oversee his eponymous team with Toto's responsibilities being shared between members of the board's executive committee, a statement read.
"I would like to thank Toto for his hard work, dedication and commitment to the team during his time as a director of the company," Williams said.
"He was a key support to me as executive director last season, deputising at a number of races when I was unable to attend. However, positions such as the one offered to him by Mercedes do not come around often.
"Toto has a long history with them and I certainly was not going to stand in the way of him accepting this once in a lifetime opportunity. Toto will retain his shareholding in Williams and will always have a place at Grove but make no mistake; we will fight him hard on the racetrack!"
Mercedes said in a statement that Wolff "will acquire a significant minority interest" and head Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd (MGP), a Daimler subsidiary, as its executive director, joining former world champion and non-executive team chairman Niki Lauda as a shareholder.
"As an entrepreneur, investor and motorsport manager, Toto Wolff has proven that this sport runs in his blood; at the same time, he is also well aware of the economic necessities of the business," Mercedes said in a statement.
"With Toto Wolff, we have gained for our Formula 1 team not only an experienced motorsport specialist, but also a longstanding enthusiast of the Mercedes-Benz brand," said Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and chairman of Daimler's board of management.