Jean Todt

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Jean Todt
Todt2005.jpg
Born25 February 1946 (1946-02-25) (age 73)
Pierrefort, France
NationalityFrench
Occupationteam principal for Scuderia Ferrari 1993-2007.
Known forTeam Principal of Scuderia Ferrari through the Schumacher years
TitleMr Jean Todt
PartnerMichelle Yeoh

Jean Todt (b. February 25, 1946, Pierrefort, France) was the executive director of Scuderia Ferrari, the Ferrari company's Formula One constructor. On October 25, 2006, he was appointed as the company's CEO.[1]

On March 18, 2008, Todt resigned as CEO and will assume a "special appointment" within the company's racing department.[2], along with a rumoured job as FIA president [3]

Biography

Born in the commune of Pierrefort in the Cantal department of France, his ancestry being French and Polish, Todt's motorsport career began when he took his father's Mini Cooper S for a ride with a friend. Thence he moved to various driving roles in rally series, but decided his strength was as a co-driver; he continued as such with the Peugeot Talbot Sport rally team until his retirement from competition in 1981.

The team moved Todt into a management-oriented position, charging him to organize the design and construction of the 205 Turbo 16 for the 1984 World Rally Championship season. After a slow start, the 205 won the world title in 1985 and 1986; other Todt-managed models continued to dominate, winning rally championships, hill climbs, and with the highly successful Peugeot 905, the Le Mans 24 hours and the World Sportscar Championship, into the 1990s. Peugeot, despite Todt's continual urging, refused to enter the Formula One Championship, and when a position opened at the Ferrari F1 team, Todt took the opportunity in 1993.[4]

Scuderia Ferrari

Jean Todt at Spanish GP 2001.

Todt was the first senior appointment of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo who had been placed in charge of a once legendary team which "had become something of a joke."[5] The Todt/di Montezemolo leadership hired Michael Schumacher in 1996, with whom came strategist Ross Brawn, and designer Rory Byrne. The Independent credited Todt with melding this combination "into a cohesive structure devoid of the polemics which were so rife."[6] The fortunate combination produced a nearly-unbeatable team. Todt and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo have since been considered responsible for turning Ferrari from a has-been team, helpless without founder Enzo Ferrari, into the powerhouse it is today.

Following much speculation as to FIA President Max Mosley's impending retirement, rumors arose in 2004 to the effect that Todt would run for the office. Mosley commented that though Todt would make an excellent president, he was quite happy at Ferrari; however, it had long been assumed that when Michael Schumacher retired from F1, Todt would leave his job. In an apparent bid to maintain Todt's loyalty, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo promoted Todt to the head of the entire Ferrari operation, including street car production.

He remained as the Team Principal of the Scuderia F1 Team for one more season, and was replaced by Stefano Domenicali on 1 January 2008, however he still remains as CEO of Ferrari. [7]

The French government has made Todt a Chevalier of its Legion d'Honneur. He was further honoured with the Grand Officier rank of the honour in January 2007.[8] Also, in July 2006, Todt was given the official Malaysian royal title of 'Datuk' by Sultan of Terengganu, which is the Malaysian equivalent of a British knighthood [9]- he is now widely addressed in Malaysian media as Datuk Jean Todt.[10]

Personal life

On September 28, 2005, Todt's engagement to actress Michelle Yeoh was reported.[11] Yeoh has subsequently denied the engagement. As recently as March 2007, Yeoh denied assertions as to an upcoming marriage. On July 31, 2008, Ms. Yeoh confirmed the rumor that she was engaged (to Jean Todt) during an interview with Craig Ferguson on CBS's The Late Late Show.

Todt's son Nicolas is a manager of Formula One drivers including Ferrari incumbent Felipe Massa.[12]

References

  1. "Ferrari confirms big changes". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1. 26 October 2006. http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns17695.html. Retrieved on 26 August 2008. 
  2. "Todt resigns as Ferrari CEO, replaced by Felisa". Reuters India (Reuters). 18 March 2008. http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-32562820080318. Retrieved on 26 August 2008. 
  3. http://www.autoblog.com/2008/03/20/rumormill-ex-ferrari-ceo-jean-todt-for-fia-president/
  4. Zapelloni, Umberto. Formula Ferrari. Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 18. ISBN 0-340-83471-4. 
  5. Baker, Andrew (20 October 2006). "Switch the key to Ferrari revival". Telegraph.co.uk (Telegraph Group). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/andrewbaker/2348442/Switch-the-key-to-Ferrari-revival.html. Retrieved on 31 July 2008. 
  6. Tremayne, David (11 September 2006). "Flawed genius Schumacher calls time on brilliant career". The Independent (Independent News and Media). http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/flawed-genius-schumacher-calls-time-on-brilliant-career-415535.html. Retrieved on 31 July 2008. 
  7. "Todt replaced as F1 boss". BBC Sport Online (BBC). 12 November 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7090726.stm. Retrieved on 21 November 2007. 
  8. "Another gong for Todt". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1. 4 January 2007. http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns17917.html. Retrieved on 4 January 2007. 
  9. "Jean Todt of Ferrari honoured". Associated Press. IBNLive. 21 July 2006. http://www.ibnlive.com/f1/jean-todt-of-ferrari-honoured/16288-5.html. Retrieved on 19 July 2007. 
  10. "Todt mum on wedding day". The Star. Star Publications. 6 April 2007. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/4/6/nation/17368077&sec=nation. Retrieved on 19 July 2007. 
  11. "Michelle Yeoh in a new relationship". China Daily. Communist Party of China. 19 August 2004. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-08/19/content_366889.htm. Retrieved on 26 August 2008. 
  12. Mole, The (17 October 2007). "Weird stuff". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1. http://www.grandprix.com/mole/mole19776.html. Retrieved on 5 January 2008. "He's not. But he [Massa] is managed by Nicolas Todt, the son of Jean. This means that a percentage of any money that Felipe Massa earns will end up in Todt Jr's pocket."