PEOPLE: CORRADO PROVERA
Name: Corrado Provera
After studying law, Provera decided that he preferred life as a journalist. His career was brief because within a few months he had joined Chrysler Italy and between 1962 and 1968 worked his way up through the ranks of the company, working in the sales, promotion and then advertising departments. In 1968 he was appointed public relations manager for the company and for the next nine years he did that job until being transferred to be head of public relations at Chrysler France. In 1978 he took over responsibility for the public relations for the whole of Chrysler Europe.
At the time Lee Iacocca, the former Ford president, became head of Chrysler and embarked on turning round the loss-making company. He decided to sell Chrysler's European subsidiaries. Peugeot, which at the time had the idea of turning itself into a European version of General Motors, bought all the Chrysler plants and changed the name of the company to Talbot. Provera was put in charge of public relations for the whole company. A public relations company informed Talbot that the best way to promote the new brand would be to enter Formula 1 racing and so Talbot bought a majority shareholding in the Ligier team and renamed it Talbot Ligier. Drivers Jacques Laffite and Eddie Cheever were hired for the 1982 season but the program was not a success and there was considerable infighting which resulted in the departure of star designer Gerard Ducarouge.
In the course of that year Peugeot management decided to give up on the idea of running twin companies and it was agreed that Peugeot and Talbot would be merged. Provera was named Information Manager and given a seat on the board of Automobiles Peugeot.
During the reshuffling Peugeot Talbot Sport was created under director Jean Todt. The F1 program was axed and Todt set about creating a program to take Peugeot into the World Rally Championship with the 205 model. This was a great success but, after a dispute with the FIA, Peugeot quit rallying and embarked on a program of rally-raids with the 205 and then the 405 model. This was followed by a hugely successful sportscar campaign which resulted in an historic 1-2-3 finish in the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 1994 the company decided to return to Grand Prix and Provera was once again involved in F1 racing.
In June 1998 he was named as head of Peugeot Sport, replacing Pierre-Michel Fauconnier. Provera took Peugeot out of F1 and into the World Rally Championship where the firm has enjoyed enormous success in recent years with the 206 model.