Now the smog has resettled on Beijing, British Olympic organisers can once
again return their attention to preparing for 2012.
On the front line are two FDs with widely varying backgrounds: Deloitte
partner and trained accountant Neil Wood, and non-accountant and regeneration
expert Dennis Hone.
Wood is the chief financial officer for the London Organising Committee of
the Olympic Games.
LOCOG, the privately-run company, will let most of the contracts for services to
deliver and run the Games with most major procurement contracts beginning in
2009. It has a £2bn budget, with almost all of it to be raised from the private
Hone, director of finance at the Olympic Delivery Authority, is lesser known,
having only joined the race last year.
The good news for both Hone and Wood is that, according to reports, we are
apparently ahead of schedule in terms of construction – despite what passers-by
at the East London Olympic site may think.
Indeed the International Olympic Committee’s monitoring team recently heaped
praise on the progress London is making for the 2012 Games with IOC
co-ordination commission chairman Denis Oswald giving London ‘9.75 out of 10’.
What Happens Next?
Wood is already used to intense media scrutiny of his work having dealt with
£20m worth of taxpayers’ money in the form of the bid budget.
The CFO is used to running a tight ship. From the day Wood arrived as LOCOG’s
CFO he stamped his mark on the financial controls ensuring that no one could
spend money without a more senior person or himself signing it off.
Hone was clearly chosen for his ‘regeneration’ background. He worked for
English Partnerships, the national regeneration agency and had spells at the
London Dockland Development Corporation and the Commission for the New Towns,
both of which had strong development purposes.
But he will also need the nous to deliver some spectacular venues, with the
extraordinariness of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube in Beijing likely to
live long in the memory.
The Canary Wharf-based ODA is the public sector body responsible for the
delivery of the new venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Games.
Hone and Wood must now be swapping tips on financial controls: with senior
politicians already talking about delivering a games under budget, they are
responsible for delivering it.
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