Exclusive: Former USOC chief executive set to take leading role at Baku 2015

Friday, 17 May 2013
By Duncan Mackay at the Congress Center Kursaal in San Marino

Jim Scherr head and shouldersMay 17 - Former United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chief executive Jim Scherr is set to join the Organising Committee of the inaugural 2015 European Games in Baku. 

He is due to take up the role of chief operating officer later this month, it was announced here during the 34th European Olympic Committees (EOC) Seminar. 

Doug Arnot, another American with vast experience in organising major events, has also been appointed as an advisor to Baku 2015.

Scherr (pictured top) is currently Commissioner at National Collegiate Hockey Conference, a role he took up in January 2012.

He will work under Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's Sports Minister, who is also chief executive of Baku 2015, and Mehriban Aliyeva, the country's First Lady who is chair of the Organising Committee. 

Scherr served as the chief exeuctive of the USOC from 2005 to 2009, overseeing 45 Olympic sports, having previously served in the role on an interim basis for two years and worked as the organisation's chief of sport performance.

He was also executive director of USA Wrestling from 1990 to 2000, and founder and chief executive of 776 Original Marketing in Colorado Springs, a company he started in 2009 to provide marketing and public relations services.

Baku Olympic StadiumBaku will host the inaugural European Games in 2015 in several new state-of-the-art venues, including an Olympic Stadium which will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Arnot joins Baku 2015 having played a major role in last year's successful Olympics and Paralympics in London.

He was executive vice-president, Director of Games Operations at London 2012, where he  oversaw direction, management and delivery of the venues.

Prior to joining London 2012 he had worked on previous Olympics at Atlanta 1996 and Salt Lake City 2002, as well as the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States.

Baku's willingness to use foreign experts is an acknowledgement that, with only two years to organise the Games, time is tight.

Doug Arnot behind Olympic ringsDoug Arnot will bring the experience to Baku 2015 of having been involved in several major events, including London 2012 and the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States

"The Organising Committee will be working with a team of experts and delivery partners to ensure a great European Games," Konul Nurullayeva, head of international relations at Baku 2015, told delegates at the EOC Seminar.

"We are aware of the very limited time we have to prepare.

"We are therefore assembling a team of extensive experience to expedite the project that will not compromise the quality of the sports.

"Baku 2015 will be a true celebration of sport and we are very excited that so many sports will be competing in our city at the same time.

"With only two years until Games time we are highly focussed on finishing all our venues.

"All the preparations are underway and will be ready well ahead of event time."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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