Jean Todt was born on 25 February 1946 at Pierrefort, Cantal (France). He has one son, Nicolas, aged 37, and shares his life with actress and film producer Michelle Yeoh.
After secondary school, he studied at the Ecole Des Cadres School of Economics, Business, and Marketing in Paris.
In 1966, he began his career as a rally co-driver, participating in World Rally Championships until 1981. The same year, alongside Guy Fréquelin, he won the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers with a Talbot Lotus.
He was then appointed Peugeot’s Director of Racing and founded Peugeot Talbot Sport (PTS). The 205 Turbo 16s entered by PTS claimed the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ World Championship titles in the 1985 and 1986 seasons before going on to take first place in the general classification at four editions of the Paris-Dakar Rally (1987 to 1990).
In 1990, Jean Todt became Director of Sporting Activities of the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group, overseeing Peugeot’s participation in the World Sports Car Championship, which Peugeot won in 1992. Peugot’s 905 prototypes also claimed two consecutive victories at the 1992 and 1993 Le Mans 24 Hours.
On 1 July 1993, Jean Todt left Peugeot and became General Manager of Ferrari’s Racing Division. Under his leadership, from1993 to 2008, Scuderia Ferrari won 14 Formula One World Championship titles (6 drivers’ titles and 8 constructors’ titles), and 106 Grand Prix.
In 2001, he took on responsibility for all motor sport activity for the Ferrari-Maserati Group, and then became a member of the board. In 2004, he was named General Manager of Ferrari. Then, in 2006, he was appointed CEO.
From 2008, Jean Todt occupied the role of Special Adviser to the President of Ferrari, while remaining a member of the board. He left Ferrari in March 2009.
Jean Todt was elected President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) on 23 October 2009, and was re-elected on 6 December 2013.
On 29 April 2015, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Jean Todt as his Special Envoy for Road Safety.
Jean Todt also devotes his time to several charitable causes. He is a Founder and the Vice-President of the ICM (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle epinière), an institute devoted to medical research for brain and spinal cord disorders, which was set up in 2005. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society since 2009, President of the Board of the Suu Foundation since 2014, and member of the Board of Directors of the International Peace Institute (IPI) since June 2015.
He also sits on the boards of Gaumont, Groupe Lucien Barrière, Edmond de Rothschild SA, the Friends of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the International Advisory Board of Sotheby’s.
Jean Todt has been roving Ambassador for the Republic of San Marino since 2003, and is Honorary President of the Federazione Auto Motoristica Sammarinese (FAMS). He is also an Honorary Member of the Automobile Club de France, and a Member of the Polo de Paris. He is also a member of the Académie des sports and of the Académie des technologies.
Jean Todt has been awarded many titles and distinctions, including:
- Grand’Croix de la Légion d’Honneur de la République française (2011)
- Grand Officier of the Republic of San Marino Order of Sainte Agathe (2012)
- Commander of the Italian Republic (2002)
- Commander of the National Order of Merit of Senegal (2013)
- Officer of the National Order of Merit of France (1991)
- Medal of the First Class Order of the Kingdom of Bahrain, awarded by the King (2014)
- Medal of the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation (2015)
- Member of the Ukrainian Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (2011)
- Golden Medal of the French Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports (1987)
- Dato Seri of Malaysia (2006)