17-year-old becomes McLaren Automotive’s CEO for a day

A 17-year-old has become McLaren Automotive’s chief executive officer for the day to celebrate International Day of the Girl.

Maisy, from Wales, took over from McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt as part of the Woking-based firm’s long-term partnership with global children’s rights charity Plan International, and as a way to encourage young people – particularly young women – into science and engineering careers.

It comes as a survey of 1,000 11-18-year-old girls in the UK conducted by Plan International shows that one in four have wanted to try out a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subject but have either been told that it’s for boys or were worried about being negatively judged. Many were also unsure about pursuing the subjects as they’d only seen boys doing it in the media.

17-year-old becomes McLaren’s CEO for a day
Maisy was shown around the various workings at McLaren Automotive

The research also showed that close to half of girls have heard through the media, friends or family that ‘girls are not good at STEM’.

CEO for the day Maisy said: “My day as CEO of McLaren Automotive was full of incredible moments but being part of building a supercar was amazing, and that’s not something many people can say.

“Plan International is about smashing stereotypes, changing attitudes, and unlearning lessons because a lot of girls think they should be playing with dolls and not cars, and that’s not right.

“This partnership between McLaren Automotive and Plan International is inspiring young women to consider STEM careers and achieve their full potential.”

The day kicked off with a full handover from CEO Mike Flewitt, who presented Maisy with her CEO business cards and McLaren access pass. During the day, Maisy led her executive team with a variety of strategic decisions while collaborating with the company’s female business leaders, engineers, scientists and designers.

Flewitt said: “Having Maisy take over as CEO of McLaren for the day to celebrate International Day of the Girl has been both an enjoyable and valuable experience for me and the whole McLaren team. Her ideas, insights and intelligence – as well as clear passion – will help us move forwards even faster on our efforts to achieve even greater diversity and inclusion.

“Maisy also got to see the incredibly exciting and diverse range of talents we depend on to produce our supercars and I hope, in the process, she has helped to dispel stereotypes associated with the automotive industry from a gender and skills perspective.”

Maisy also met brand ambassador Amanda McLaren – daughter of the company’s founder Bruce McLaren – who showed her around the new ‘McLaren: Driven by Design’ exhibition at the Brooklands Museum.

Flewitt added: “Our work with Plan International is for the long-term and I’m delighted that one of the key decisions Maisy led on as CEO was our pledge to work with Plan International on McLaren’s commitment to holding workshops with 100 girls over the next 12 months, scaling up to 1000 globally by 2025 to encourage greater take-up of STEM careers. That is a legacy Maisy and everyone at McLaren can be very proud of.”