Adam Parr

CEO and Chairman

2006 to 2012

Adam Stephen de Voghelaere Parr worked in investment banking and practised law before becoming CEO and chairman of Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC in 2006. It was widely assumed that he was the natural successor to Sir Frank, before his sudden departure in March 2012 in the fallout from a disagreement with Bernie Ecclestone over the direction of Formula 1.

Old Etonian and Cambridge graduate Adam Parr joined Williams in 2006 tasked with the compete restructuring of Williams holdings PLC, and stabilising a team that was struggling on track and a business struggling away from the track.

Williams was quickly tumbling down the constructors table, having gone from narrowly losing out on the 2003 constructors championship to finishing eighth in 2006 in just three short years.

Of the track it found itself in serious financial difficulties after losing its works engine deal with BMW and title sponsorship with HP prior to Parr joining and as a consequence of its worsening championship position found its prize money slashed too.

One of Adam Parr’s first significant contributions was to remove Williams’ Senior Management Group (SMG), replacing it with a more traditional board of directors, “as quickly as possible“.

He was also pivotal in the deal that brought in Pastor Maldonado (the last man to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix for Williams), and with him £30m of Venezuelan cash in the form of a title sponsorship agreement with state owned petrochemical giant PDVSA.

By 2011 Williams was again profitable, and despite finishing a lowly ninth place in the constructors championship with an uncompetitive FW33 it found itself in a good financial position to move forwards.

However, Adam Parr would have seen his last full season with Williams.

He firmly believed that the proposed Concorde agreement (eventually agreed in July 2013) was too heavily weighted in favour of Ferrari who would have, according to Parr, too big a say in regulatory aspects of F1 and benefit too much financially, compromising the integrity of the sport.

Unfortunately for Parr, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone disagreed and began publicly undermining Parr in order to pressurise he and Williams into submission.

Following Ecclestone’s assertion that no deal would be reached while Parr was at Williams, and recognising the impact this was likely to have on Williams and Sir Frank in particular, for the benefit of the team and so that negotiations could progress, Adam Parr tendered his resignation.

Six weeks after Parr left Williams, Maldonado won the team’s first Grand Prix for eight years.

Following his departure from Williams, Adam Parr authored a graphic novel about his time at Williams – ‘The Art of War’ which focuses on the challenged of his five years in Formula 1.

And a very good read it is too!

Categories: Team

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