In the Pit Lane: Lawrence Stroll Does It Again With Cognizant Deal
Lawrence Stroll seals another deal with Cognizant, the Fortune 500 IT services giant becoming the new title sponsor of the Aston Martin F1 team in a deal believed to be worth £20-£30m per year.
So, what is it about Stroll that makes companies and individuals want to throw their hat into the ring?
What is it about Lawrence Stroll?
A good place to start is what people say about Stroll.
Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries commented, “Lawrence, I need to associate myself with winners. A: With you, Lawrence, first. B: Aston Martin, the brand, it just doesn’t get any better.” Adding Stroll’s track record “speaks for itself, obviously, in other industries.”
“Stroll is a person who takes no prisoners,” says a source close to Aston Martin. “The word ‘determined’ comes to mind.”
“Perhaps a touch of irrational mad passion with a large wallet isn’t as crazy as it sounds,” said Matthias Schmidt, an independent automotive analyst in Berlin.
So, is Lawrence Stroll a winner?
Well, his track record in the fashion industry is formidable turning Tommy Hilfiger from $5m of sales to $3bn in 13 years. Following on from this he then took Michael Kors from sales of $14m to a $20bn New York Stock Exchange float.
Stroll now claims his Midas touch will work with Aston Martin, predicting the share price will rise from the recent base of 60p – £1.80 to £6, £7, or £9 over the next five years.
Stroll boldly claims the marque will soon easily be selling 10,000 cars a year and generating revenues of £2bn with £500m of core profit by 2025.
Many financial pundits take a different view, but the investors are lining up.
First, we had his Yew Tree consortium (owners of the F1 team) joining forces with Lord Anthony Bamford, Chairman of digger giant JCB to purchase a sizeable stake in Aston Martin.
Bamford has said of Stroll, “He is a forceful personality, if he’s got an idea he will keep pushing it, he also has a reputation for hiring the best people.”
This is evidenced by the hiring of amongst others Jefferson Slack, the former marketing chief for basketball star Michael Jordan and CEO of Inter Milan, as its new commercial managing director.
Tobias Moers of Mercedes fame as CEO and the highly respected F1 journalist Matt Bishop as the team’s Chief Communications Officer are two more astute signings.
Then we had the announcement that Toto Wolff invested £37m explaining that Stroll proved, “intelligent decisions and intelligent strategies can lead to success”.
Sebastian Vettel joined the party buying ‘a few shares’.
Switzerland’s richest man, billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli has invested an initial $20m.
Investment companies coming on board putting £125m into the kitty include Zelon Holdings, and Permian Investment Partners,
Completing the new partners, we had Mercedes providing £286-million worth of hybrid and electric vehicle technology in exchange for increasing its stake from 2.3% to 20%.
Not widely published was the $4m investment from none other than Ferrari’s iconic former president Luca di Montezemolo who knew Stroll from his days when Tommy Hilfiger was a Ferrari sponsor.
So, all in all, it would seem Stroll can gain the confidence and more importantly the money from a wide range of individuals and companies.
Stroll is seen in the paddock at race weekends but rarely gives interviews except the notable scary, “we have done nothing wrong” piece to camera back in August.
Behind the scenes, there is a charismatic man who enjoys the good life with Hollywood A-Listers partying aboard his $200m superyacht Faith and multiple luxury homes around the world.
To this end, he owns a $220m collection of vintage Ferraris with the jewel in the crown being the $25m ex-Mark Donohue/Roger Penske Ferrari 512m.
In the 1990s, he reportedly outraged neighbours in the posh Westmount section of Montreal by blasting rock to make room for an underground garage to house the collection.
Alas, the collection has been put up for sale as Stroll now wants to purchase a collection of Aston Martins claiming, “cars are my passion, a huge part of my life, and Aston Martin has always had a special place in my heart.”
It’s not the only asset that has been sold with his South Florida penthouse previously owned by Oprah Winfrey recently selling for $20 million.
In August 2020, several sources in the yachting world said Strolls superyacht Faith had been sold to no other than one, wait for it …………. Michael Latifi!
So, time will tell if the Aston Martin F1 team and car project will succeed, or will it all end in tears?
Garry Sloan is the author of “In the pit lane – F1 exposed” details at inthepitlane.com
Copyright ©2021 Garry Sloan
[Note: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors and/or publishers.]