Mohammed Ben Sulayem is the first non-European elected to lead the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), succeeding Jean Todt, who served the maximum three terms.
Following the FIA Annual General Assembly gathered in Paris on Friday, Mohammed Ben Sulayem is the new FIA President.
Elected for a four-year term, under the banner “FIA For Members”, Ben Sulayem, 60, a former Rally driver from the United Arab Emirates, received 61,62 percent of the votes from FIA Member Clubs.
In 2005, he became President of the Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO), also acting as the FIA World Motor Sport Council Vice President for the Middle East.
Speaking about his new role, the elected FIA President said: “I am very honored to have been elected FIA President at the conclusion of the Annual General Assembly in Paris today.
“I thank all the Member Clubs for their esteem and trust. I congratulate Graham for his campaign and his engagement to the Federation. I wish to express my infinite gratitude in the name of the FIA and that of its Members to Jean Todt for all that has been achieved over the past 12 years.
“I am committed to pursuing the important work and make motorsport and mobility take further steps forward.”
Ben Sulayem’s team (Fia For Members) includes Spaniard Manuel Avino, second vice president for sport in Europe; Carmelo Sanz de Barros as President of the Senate, Robert Reid as Deputy President for Sport, and Tim Shearman as Deputy President for Mobility.
The 14-time FIA Middle East Rally Champion succeeds Frenchman Jean Todt, 75, in charge of the governing body for world motorsport and the federation of the world’s motoring organizations for twelve years.
Todt, the outgoing FIA President, stated: “A chapter has come to an end. We can be collectively satisfied of our achievements in motorsport and safe and sustainable mobility over the past 12 years.”
Further adding: “I would like to warmly thank my team, our administration, and all our Member Clubs for their unwavering commitment, enthusiasm, and resilience. I congratulate Mohammed on his election as FIA President and wish him, his team, and the Federation the best of success for the years to come.”
Born February 1946, Todt’s remarkable career includes six world titles as Team Principal at Scuderia Ferrari alongside seven-time FIA Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher, before replacing Max Mosley to become the ninth FIA President in 2009.
A relentless advocate on safety and mobility, he worked non-stop to make racing a safer environment for drivers while promoting clean mobility as road safety, paramount to the non-profit organization.
Over the years, several initiatives were launched, setting the tone of his presidency.
In 2011, the FIA released the Action for Road Safety campaign to support the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.
Also, the #3500LIVES campaign featuring 20 famous ambassadors to help bring awareness to road safety aims for all governments to prioritize road safety and introduce effective legislation on key risk factors on the road.
Launched in 2017, the campaign is named after more than 3,500 people killed on the world’s roads every day in preventable road traffic accidents.
Moreover, the Frenchman was named Grand Croix de la Legion d’Honneur in 2011. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Peace Institute (IPI), a Chairman of the Board of the Suu Foundation - a humanitarian organization dedicated to advancing the health and education of the people of Myanmar, and one of the Founders and Vice-President of ICM, an institute devoted to medical research for brain and spinal cord disorders.
The FIA was founded in 1904, bringing together 245 Member Organisations from 146 countries on five continents, with headquarters in Paris and Geneva.