Report - Todt appointed FIA boss
Jean Todt will succeed Max Mosley as the new head of motorsport's world governing body, the FIA, after winning the presidential election in Paris.
The former Ferrari team boss claimed 135 votes compared to 49 cast for his rival Ari Vatanen with 12 abstentions.
Todt, 63, was the favourite to win the vote after being backed by Mosley, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
The vote brings an end to Mosley's controversial 16-year reign.
"Jean Todt has been elected president of the FIA for a four-year term by the FIA General Assembly at its annual meeting in Paris," an FIA statement said.
Schumacher, who had accompanied Todt to the meeting, added: "It's positive, very positive."
With the election over everybody must share the same goals, including those who did not support me
Mosley had agreed he would not stand for a fifth term as president as part of a peace deal struck in July to end the threat of a breakaway championship by Formula 1 teams.
Following his decision, Mosley immediately endorsed Todt ahead of Vatanen, who had already put himself forward as a candidate.
Todt and Vatanen, who worked together on the Peugeot rally team in the 1980s, fought an increasingly bitter campaign to succeed Mosley.
Both presented themselves as the candidate for change and harmony but Vatanen questioned Todt's ability to drive the FIA forward after losing the election.
"I really doubt he will be able to give a new start to the FIA, but let's hope I'm wrong," Vatanen said.
"Jean Todt has a lot of qualities but, if he wants to leave his footprints on the FIA, he has got to renew it.
"And if he doesn't get rid of the ancient guard and all the people who worked with Mosley, he won't succeed."
Todt (right) and Vatanen each spoke at the election
Among Todt's proposals is the introduction of a new commissioner to oversee the running of F1, as well as the other FIA championships.
The Frenchman also wants to examine improvements to the stewards' decision-making process.
"I am relieved, because it was a very trying experience," a victorious Todt said.
"I like to make things go forward and I am really happy to see so many countries chose me, but everything is yet to be done.
"With the election over everybody must share the same goals, including those who did not support me.
"We are facing a new crucial era for cars, the environment and global warming, which has strong implications for motor racing."
Former world champion Damon Hill says it is important that Todt distances himself from the previous regime of Mosley and look instead to the future.
"It would good for him to put the past administration behind him and to separate himself from that and do it the way he would like to do it," Hill told BBC Sport.
"It would be good for him to make clear what the FIA stands for in terms of sport and also what his ambitions are.
"I know from his campaign he wants to separate the judging process from the FIA and also to have a separate body that runs F1. I think those are good things to start with."
Mosley's presidency has become identified with a period of political strife in F1, with a series of damaging rows in recent years.
Ill-feeling and suspicion remain and the F1 teams are concerned that the election of Todt, who Mosley has publicly backed as his successor, would effectively be a continuation of the Mosley era.
That belief is enhanced because Mosley, as an ex-president, will retain a seat on the FIA Senate, the powers of which Todt wants to extend.
As part of Todt's team, Nick Craw, who is president of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States, becomes president of the FIA Senate.
Mosley's public backing of Todt infuriated Vatanen and led him to instigate legal proceedings last week to ensure the transparency and fairness of the election.
The Finn withdrew that lawsuit after he, Todt and Mosley agreed a procedure for the election in Paris.
The secret ballot at Paris's Intercontinental Hotel were supervised by an external Huissier de Justice, a French state-appointed public witness.
The votes were then counted in private by the FIA legal department, under the supervision of scrutineers proposed by the two presidential candidates and designated by the General Assembly.
The votes will be now be sequestered for 12 months.
Todt developed a reputation in F1 as a divisive figure during his 15 years as Ferrari team principal.
That image is at odds with the one painted by former Ferrari team members and drivers, who are largely effusive about his skills as a team-builder and manager.
Todt was at Schumacher's side as he won five drivers' titles with Ferrari
Todt says he stands for "consensus not conflict", and he points out that he has already met the F1 Teams' Association, Fota, to discuss his plans.
Fota president Luca di Montezemolo, who is also president of Ferrari, welcomed Todt's appointment.
"I have always appreciated his ability, dedication and commitment," he said.
"I am sure that, under his guidance, the federation will be rejuvenated and will restore a climate open to dialogue and constructive collaboration with the teams and Fota, thus ensuring stability of the regulations and the whole environment."
Todt began his career in motorsport as a co-driver in the world rally championship, winning the manufacturers' title with Talbot Lotus before retiring in 1981.
After a successful spell in charge of rally teams, he moved to Ferrari and in 1996 he persuaded Schumacher and technical director Ross Brawn to join him.
Ferrari went on to win 13 world titles, including six constructors' championships in a row from 1999 to 2004.
After seeing Stefano Domenicali installed as team boss in 2008, Todt severed his ties with the Italian team in March this year.
The 63-year-old now begins another new era as Mosley's successor to the FIA presidency.
Mosley began his spell in charge in 1993 and successfully implemented improved head and neck protection for drivers as he spearheaded several safety campaigns.
He was also the force behind the Euro NCAP programme, a mandatory safety test for road cars.
However, the 69-year-old's reign became more controversial towards the end of his career as he tried to force through several rule changes.
The son of former Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley also hit the headlines last year because of his involvement with a sex scandal that almost ended his career.