Adam Parr (born 26 May 1965) is a British businessman known for his pioneering work in fields from Formula 1 to investment to NGOs. He is the former CEO and chairman of Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC, from November 2006 until 30 March 2012 Parr began his career working for BZW and moved to Rio Tinto before studying and practising public law. He later returned to Rio Tinto as assistant to the Chief Executive and chairman before being appointed CEO of Williams F1 in 2006. Since leaving Williams in 2012, Parr has completed a PhD in eighteenth-century history and literature at University College London; and been involved in business and not-for-profit activities. He is a director of Cosworth Limited and the River Learning Trust.
Early life and education
Parr was born in London as Adam Stephen de Voghelaere Parr in 1965. He attended Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating in 1987.
Parr began his career with the investment bank Barclays de Zoete Wedd. Having spent some time in Japan before university, his interest in the country led him to Japanese equities and trading. He was relocated to Japan as an equities analyst focusing on heavy industrial sectors such as iron and steel. In Japan he became acquainted with Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto and, on his return to the UK, was seconded to Rio Tinto by BZW to help with mergers and acquisitions. He then joined Rio Tinto full time, firstly as personal assistant to the head of exploration and then as assistant to the general manager of the Palabora copper mine in South Africa.
Parr took an extended sabattical to study Law. At the Bar, he practised in the areas of public law, appearing in cases up to the Court of Appeal. He successfully represented the former chief executive of Westminster City Council, in his appeal against a £30 million fine in the Dame Shirley Porter "gerrymandering" case.
In 1998 Parr returned to Rio Tinto as assistant to the chairman and chief executive. His main focus was to improve industrial safety in Rio Tinto's operations. Following a global study, he helped establish a safety programme for the Group's 30,000 staff.
Over the following years injuries fell significantly. Parr then took up a series of increasingly senior executive posts during six years in Australia, firstly managing Rio Tinto's extensive port and infrastructure in the remote Pilbara region, then running its Western Australian salt operations. Finally, he served as president and chief commercial officer of Rio Tinto Minerals, a group with operations in Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia. Parr first met Frank Williams, in 2000.
Formula One career
In November 2006 Parr was appointed chief executive officer of Williams F1, replacing departing CEO Chris Chapple. Parr was chairman of Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited from July 2010 to March 2012, responsible for the day-to-day running of the team, whilst Frank Williams remained Team Principal and majority shareholder of the company. Parr was known during his tenure for his green innovation – bringing hybrid technology to the fore of Williams.
Parr was named chief executive of Sported in April 2013. The foundation was set up in 2008 by Sir Keith Mills, donating £10 million to inspire disadvantaged young people. Following the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Sported became "the UK's leading sports foundation dedicated to securing the legacy of London 2012" He stood down as chief executive of Sported at the end of 2013 but remains a member of the fundraising committee.
The Walk Free Foundation
- "Adam Parr – Chairman". Williams F1. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC (2010). "Adam Parr – Chairman". www.attwilliams.com.
There is no prescribed route to a career in motorsport...
- "Chairman Adam Parr leaves Williams F1 team". Autosport. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- www.formula1.com (17 November 2006). "Williams team appoint new CEO". www.formula1.com.
Williams confirmed on Friday the appointment of Adam Parr as the team's new Chief Executive Officer...
- James Allen (8 July 2010). "Frank Williams steps back, Adam Parr takes over". www.jamesallenonf1.com.
Today was a big day in the history of the Williams F1 team as Sir Frank Williams stepped down as chairman...
- Parr, Adam. "The Art of War: Five Years in Formula One". Retrieved 29 November 2012.