9 May 2024

FIA's first CEO Robyn to leave after 18 months

6:26 am on 9 May 2024
Natalie Robyn, FIA CEO, 2024.

Natalie Robyn, FIA CEO, 2024. Photo: AFP

Natalie Robyn is leaving Formula One's governing body after serving just 18 months as its first chief executive.

Robyn was one of the most senior female executives in motorsport and her arrival from the auto industry was hailed by the FIA as a "transformative moment" for an organisation led by Emirati Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Ben Sulayem had also highlighted Robyn's appointment as proof of his commitment to equality and diversity after a controversy over remarks he had once made about women "who think they are smarter than men".

The governing body said Robyn had decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere and was leaving by mutual agreement at the end of May.

"Performing in the role of CEO at the FIA has been an enormous privilege and I am grateful to have directed a programme of restructuring and reform," she was quoted as saying.

"Now is the time to step away in the knowledge that the organisation is better placed for the challenges which lie ahead."

Robyn is the fourth senior employee to depart the FIA since December.

Sporting director Steve Nielsen, single-seater technical director Tim Goss and women's commission head Deborah Mayer have all left.

The FIA is facing legal action brought by Susie Wolff, the director of the all-female F1 Academy support series and wife of Mercedes team boss Toto, after a conflict of interest inquiry last year.

The relationship between Liberty Media-owned Formula One and the FIA deteriorated last year, with the two sides at loggerheads over a number of issues, including possible expansion to 11 teams.