PEOPLE: PHILIPPE GURDJIAN
Name: Philippe Gurdjian
Gurdjian comes from the advertising world, starting out as an account manager with the Gemap Advertising Agency in Paris in 1967. He worked his way up through the company and became its managing-director and ultimately its owner.
His passion was motor racing and this led to him becoming the promoter of the French Grand Prix in 1985. Three years later he sold his advertising agency to concentrate on racing and ended up as a motor racing consultant to companies such as Renault, Matra, Figaro and ICL. He played an important role in the development of the Magny-Cours circuit and ran the race until June 1997 when the local government decided it wanted to take over and appointed Roland Hodel to the job.
Gurdjian then began working closely with Bernie Ecclestone and spent much of 1999 in Malaysia helping the locals get ready for the inaugural Malaysian GP. He was closely involved in the negotiations for the purchase of Paul Ricard and is the managing-director of Excelsis, the company which is expected to redevelop the circuit with the aim of becoming the home of the French GP in the future.