By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Henrique_Meirelles_in_Rio_tieFebruary 1 - Brazil's former Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles is to head the new agency overseeing the building preparations for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, it was reported today.

The 65-year-old, who stood down from his role with the Central Bank in December following eight year in charge, a period which coincided with the incredible economic growth of Brazil, is set to be put in charge of the Autoridade Pública Olímpica (PDB) - Olympics Public Authority - by the country's new President Dilma Rousseff, the O Estado de S. Paulo reported.

The PDB was the idea of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and is modelled on the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) set-up by London after it won its bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

It is expected to be fully set-up next month when the Brazilian Congress passes a law to rubber-stamp its establishment.

When it is fully up and running it is expected to employ up to 500 people.

Representatives from the federal, state and city Governments will make up the agency, which is expected to have a budget of around 30 billion reais (£11 billion/$18 billion).

The agency, whose creation was agreed upon with the International Olympic Committee, will be responsible for coordinating investments, mostly in infrastructure, planned for the Olympic Games that will take place in Rio for 2016.

The decision to appoint Meirelles is something of a surprise as he and Rousseff clashed over Brazil's economic strategy following her election in November to succeed Lula.

Meirelles, a graduate of University of São Paulo, who also studied at Harvard Business School, was an ntegral member of Rio's successful bid team and his presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members on the growth of the Brazilian economy and its stability is widely credited with playing a vital part in the Games being awarded to South America for the first time.

Meirelles spent most of his working career at BankBoston, where he rose to be Pesident of the bank's Brazilian operation, from 1984 to 1996.

In 1996, he became President and Chief Operating Officer of BankBoston Corporation and in 1999 was named President of Global Banking for FleetBoston Financial.

He has also held academic council positions at various American universities, including Harvard and Boston College.

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