BusinessPeople In BusinessLeather and Wood to chase Olympic dream

Leather and Wood to chase Olympic dream

Two Big Four partners could lead the race to head finance function of the 2012 Olympics.

Neil Wood, who led the finance team that last week successfully won the bid
to host the games, said this week that the job of running the games itself was
‘the job of a lifetime. It certainly won’t exist as a job in the UK again in our
lifetimes.’

In his first interview since London was named as the winning city, Wood told
Accountancy Age that he was undecided as to whether to apply for the
role.

Wood has always planned to return to Deloitte as a partner once the
organising process was up and running. ‘I’m a partner with Deloitte, and I’ve
been incredibly fortunate that I have been allowed to take on this role,’ he
said.

But it was too early to make a decision: ‘The decision I have come to is not
to even think about it at this stage.’

David Leather, who led the finance team for the Commonwealth Games in
Manchester in 2002, is also likely to be a contender.

Leather is currently an audit partner in Ernst & Young’s Manchester
office. He was unavailable for comment but has been coy about the prospect in
the past. When asked about jobs on the bid committee he said that the FD job was
‘about putting together a technically excellent bid, then marketing it and
getting the political support. My strengths are more operationally focused.’ But
if London won the bid, he has said: ‘That would be different.’

The bid will in fact involve two top finance jobs. The Olympic Delivery
Authority will build the ‘theatre’ of the games, whilst the London Organising
Committee of the Games will put on the events themselves.

Both will be high profile posts, the cost control of past Olympic events
being one of the most closely scrutinised areas.

Mark Freebairn, head of the CFO practice at Odgers Ray & Berndtson, said
the FD job at the ODA might appeal to those with experience of the construction
industry.

The post at LOCOG might appeal to those involved with the theatre, or staging
other sporting events.

LOCOG will have a £1.5bn budget in today’s money, whilst the ODA’s will be
£2.75bn.

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