Baroness Margaret Ford to step down as OPLC chair

Wednesday, 08 February 2012
By Tom Degun in London

Baroness Margaret_Ford_08-02-12February 8 - Baroness Margaret Ford (pictured) is set to step down as chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) following the conclusion of the London 2012 Games, it has been announced today.

The decision comes as Mayor of London Boris Johnson today announced his formal decision to create a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) that will be responsible for the regeneration legacy from London 2012.

The new body, which opens for business on April 1, 2012 and will be called the London Legacy Development Corporation, will be directly accountable to Londoners through the Mayor.

Johnson has announced his intention to appoint Ford as the Corporation's interim chair until the conclusion of the London 2012 Games, when she will step down from the role.

Until then, Ford will oversee the smooth transition of the OPLC to Legacy Corporation, completing some key legacy goals including securing tenants for the remaining venues.

"The Olympic Park Legacy Company has accomplished a huge amount and is on track to achieve all of the main tasks that the Mayor and the Government set back in 2009," said Ford.

"The next phase of the legacy work, including major transformation plans to the Park, are critical and will require a great deal of attention.

"I have decided therefore that I cannot continue to give the substantial time required for the role so after the Games would seem a natural point to make the change.

"It has been an absolute privilege to work with such a supportive Mayor and ministers, and extremely talented board and staff members.

"Together we have set down strong foundations for the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a major driver of the significant regeneration of this part of East London.

"But for now it is business as usual and I look forward to continuing to work over the next six months on the further challenges that lie ahead."

Ford was appointed chair of the OPLC back in April 2009 and joined the organisation from Royal Bank of Canada, where she was a managing director in the Bank's Global Infrastructure Group.

olympic stadium_and_ArcelorMittal_Orbit_08-02-12
Under her leadership, the OPLC has achieved huge success including securing future of six out of eight permanent Olympic venues as they appointed operators for the Aquatics Centre, Multi-Use Arena and ArcelorMittal Orbit.

They have also promised to secure the future of the other two permanent Olympic venues – the Olympic Stadium and the International Broadcast Centre/Main Press centre – before the start of the London 2012 Games.

Ford also played a leading role in helping London secure the 2017 World Athletics Championships, which will take place in the Olympic Stadium.

"I am grateful for Margaret's huge contribution over the last three years planning and delivering a solid 2012 legacy and delighted she will oversee this important work until after the Games as well as setting the new Legacy Corporation on a firm footing," said Johnson.

The MDC will continue the work of the OPLC as well as manage some of the assets and responsibilities of existing regeneration agencies in the area, such as the Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

The new Corporation will have greater powers over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and wider area including planning and development control.

"We have an extraordinarily exciting period ahead," added Johnson.

"Building on the momentum already created by the Legacy Company we are on track to grasp this unique opportunity and harness the Olympic legacy of new jobs, new homes and new communities which Londoners will benefit from for years to come."

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz


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