Ex-Goldman Olympics Boss Tackles Terror to Toilets – Bloomberg

In an oak-paneled church hall a few blocks from Big Ben, Paul Deighton, chief executive officer of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, strides to the podium.

He’s holding the almost 3-foot-high golden torch that he proudly says was designed in east London and manufactured in northern England.

For all the mighty symbolism, the torch can’t shield Deighton from the skeptical audience gathered one evening in March to hear how they can profit from this summer’s Olympics, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its July issue.

The hall is filled with about 200 small-business owners, and a gloomy mood prevails as Britain struggles through its first double-dip recession since the 1970s.

One woman waves a London 2012 brochure and asks why it was printed in China when the games should be helping British businesses.

“I’ll look into it,” Deighton promises. He gently reminds her that 95 percent of London 2012 contracts were awarded to British firms.

Another man asks about a feared shortage of portable toilets in the Olympic Park. Deighton politely reassures him that they’ve got that one covered.

It’s fitting that a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS banker is running the business end of the Olympics — and getting dumped on by cantankerous Londoners.

Bleaker Mood

When Britain won the bid for the 2012 games seven years ago, the economy was booming, Prime Minister Tony Blair was presiding over what was still “Cool Britannia” and the City, London’s financial district, was gorging on cheap credit and megabonuses for bankers like Deighton.

Then a bleaker mood set in. The day after London won, homegrown terrorists bombed the city’s public transportation system, killing 52 people and raising fears of more attacks, including during the games.

In 2007, after a decade in office, Blair stepped down. Soon the financial crisis was rocking the U.K., followed by the sovereign-debt calamity in Europe, Britain’s largest trading partner.

Against that backdrop, not to mention the biggest government budget cuts since World War II, a summer of Olympics celebration offers London some relief.

via Ex-Goldman Olympics Boss Tackles Terror to Toilets – Bloomberg.

Strange Random Olympics Quote:

“All I’ve done is run fast. I don’t see why people should make much fuss about that.” – Fanny Blankers-Koen (Dutch sprinter who won four gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics)

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Posted on June 9, 2012, in Article and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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