London 2012 Olympics bid team in disarray

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The Times reports further evidence of disarray amongst the London 2012 Olympics bid team:

"London Olympics team loses another top player

July 06, 2004
By Andrew Pierce

BARBARA CASSANI has relinquished her high-profile role in London's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, triggering the resignation of one of the architects of the campaign.

Ms Cassani, who stepped down as chairwoman in May to become vice-chair, agreed to give up those duties a week ago after a meeting with Lord Coe, the double Olympic gold medallist and former Tory MP who replaced her as chairman.

The latest scaling down of Ms Cassani's responsibilities prompted the immediate resignation of Jane Willacy, the project manager.

In her resignation letter, a copy of which has been passed to The Times, Ms Willacy made a withering condemnation of the management of the bid. In a scarcely concealed attack on Lord Coe, she complained that there was "no apparent decision-making process, and no leadership". Ms Willacy, 47, added that the organisation required a "leader that will understand what needs to be fought for in a 'winning' bid and the stamina and guts to fight for it ".

Although Ms Cassani will continue working on "technical aspects" of the bid, she is no longer expected to play a significant role. She will not draw a salary but will retain the title of vice-chair. Ms Cassani, founder of the Go airline, will travel to Athens for the Olympic Games this summer at her own expense. Friends of Ms Cassani, 43, confirmed that her role had been downgraded and said she would continue working on a voluntary basis. "She is prepared to do whatever she is asked, " one associate said.

Her effective demotion has angered some of the staff, at the campaign headquarters on the 50th floor of London's Canary Wharf, who were not told for a week. Ms Cassani's failure to turn up for a key meeting last Tuesday prompted a flurry of rumours. Her departure was confirmed at a meeting on Friday.

In her two-page resignation letter to Keith Mills, the bid's chief executive, Ms Willacy, said that she was "grossly disappointed" at the the way London 2012 was run. The letter, dated June 28, was copied to the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Greater London Authority.

She alleged that individual personal agendas had been allowed to compromise the quality of the bid, adding: "Those who worry more about where they will be in August 2005 rather than the result in July 2005 will never produce the best results for you.

"To be specific, I'm also concerned that our public relations campaign and show of government/public support are wholly inadequate."

One employee, who talked to The Times, said Ms Cassani's departure had caused pandemonium, that London 2012 was riven by internal power feuds and morale had slumped.

Ms Cassani was appointed leader of the London 2012 Olympic bid in June last year because Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, felt that she was the hungriest candidate.

But she swapped jobs with Lord Coe in May, a day after London was named by the International Olympic Committee as one of the five cities on the short-list to stage the Games. It was in third place.

The message from international Olympic chiefs was that ministers must get a grip on the capital's transport infrastructure if it is to have any chance of winning the Games."

The whole waste of public money involved with the London 2012 Olympics bid, demonstrated by the lack of true financial and leadership support from the Government, which we have noted in the past, seems to be coming home to roost.

1 Comments

well doen ken for winning olympics

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