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INTERVIEW


The CEO of LOCOG talks to Karen Maxwell about his role in delivering the biggest international sports event the UK has ever hosted


PAUL DEIGHTON


A


fter more than seven years of preparation, the final count- down to the start of the most ambitious global sporting


event ever hosted in the UK has begun. The London 2012 Olympic and


Paralympic Games’ venues have been built or adapted on time, within budget and successfully tested fit for purpose. Millions of tickets have been sold, 7,000 Games Makers are trained and ready for action and Olympic fever has gripped the nation thanks, in part, to the Olympic Torch Relay. As CEO of the London Organising


Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Paul Deighton is the man to credit for leading the delivery of this vast and complex project. Armed with proven business acumen


from 22 years of international experience at investment bank Goldman Sachs, since he was appointed in 2006 Deighton has helped to raise a £2bn budget from the private sector, worked closely with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to ensure successful venue delivery and led LOCOG relationships with key stakeholders and other organisations with an interest in the Games.


Team building Building the senior LOCOG team to deliver the project was a major priority for Deighton when he took the role. “The first person I hired was my human resources director Jean Tomlin, who helped get the right people on board,” he says. According to Deighton, diversity and


teamwork has been key to the team’s success. “We purposely chose people of all ages from a variety of business back- grounds – in both the public and private sectors – although the ability to be a team player was an important factor,” he says. “There are two main facets of a per-


son’s aptitude. One is their ability to do the job and the second is their capability to work within a team. My view is that you can help people improve by devel- oping them and allowing them to learn by experience, but if someone is not a team player it is very difficult, no matter what type of coaching you give them, to change that behaviour. “I’d much rather hire somebody who


scores nine out of 10 on team playing and seven out of 10 on demonstrated capabil- ity, because I believe I can get the seven up to nine rather than the other way around.”


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Forward thinking When I spoke to Paul in May this year, the Olympic Park was looking less like a building site and more like an international sports hub. At that time he was focusing his attention on what he called ‘the three ts’– testing, tickets and Torch Relay. Deighton said the success of the 42


testing events allowed LOCOG to prop- erly incorporate the lessons learned into plans going forward; he was about to release a further million tickets to those people in the UK who were unlucky in the first ballot; and he was due to fly to Athens, Greece to pick up the Olympic flame in readiness for the Torch Relay to wind its way through a myriad of British neighbourhoods. Since then, he’s been focusing his


attention on the final Games prepara- tions, such as mobilising the workforce, finishing off the sporting venues – with temporary livery and overlay – and “test- ing, planning and rehearsing above and beyond the London Prepares test event stage to make sure that our plan converts very quickly into operational readiness in time for the Games,” he says.


Issue 3 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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