DAVID RICHARDS CBE
Job title: Chairman
Also Chairman of Motorsport UK
Date of birth: 3rd June 1952
Lives: London, The Cotswolds and Cornwall
Family: Married to Karen with three children
After studying accountancy, David spent eight years as a professional rally co-driver becoming British and Scandinavian champion and concluded his competition career by winning the World Rally Championship as the co-driver to Ari Vatanen in 1981.
Following this title, David devoted his time to developing his business interests, which led to the formation of his own motor racing team and the creation of Prodrive in 1984. The company established its headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire, where, under David’s direction, it has grown into a world leading motorsport and advanced technology business employing over 500 staff with annual sales in excess of £70m.
Since 1984, Prodrive has won six FIA World Rally titles; five Le Mans titles; four British Touring Car titles and six FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) titles. In 2004, with David as Team Principal, the BAR Honda F1 team finished runners-up in the Formula One Constructors’ Championship. Prodrive is currently competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin Racing and supporting a number of customer programmes around the world.
Today, the majority of Prodrive’s activities are outside motorsport where it has a growing reputation for the development of advanced technology solutions in the automotive, aerospace, marine and defence industries with specific expertise in the development of electric/hybrid vehicles, lightweight composite structures and complex electro-hydraulic control systems.
In 2007, David led the consortium that purchased Aston Martin from Ford, resulting in him being appointed as Chairman of this iconic British sports car manufacturer, a role he fulfilled for six years until stepping down at the end of 2013.
In the same year, David and his wife Karen acquired The Idle Rocks Hotel in St Mawes, Cornwall which they completely refurbished. It is now a Relais and Chateaux Hotel receiving international acclaim as one of Britain’s top seaside destinations and most recently British Sea Food Restaurant of the Year.
David is Chairman of Motorsport UK (the governing body for motorsport in the UK), a role he assumed in January 2018. He sits on the advisory board of Cranfield School of Management, is Chairman of trustees of the British Racing Drivers’ Club motor sport charity, vice president of the automotive industry charity BEN and a patron of the schools’ initiative Greenpower. He is also a non-executive director of BGC Partners Inc. (an American listed company).
In the 2005 Queen’s New Year’s honours, he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to motorsport and has honorary doctorates and fellowships from the Universities of Wales, Coventry, Warwick and Cranfield. In 2017 he was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame and presented with the Spirt of Le Mans award by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). In 2019, Autocar presented him with their Outstanding Leader Award.