The decision to make the HR director for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) accountable to the chief executive has been welcomed by senior industry figures.
Locog, chaired by Lord Sebastian Coe, is responsible for managing and staging the London 2012 Games and will oversee all the operational planning, from the opening and closing of the medal ceremonies to organising all the sponsorship and marketing.
Unlike the £75,000 head of HR role for the interim Olympic Development Authority (ODA), which will report to the finance director, the Locog HR director will receive a six-figure package and report to the recently appointed chief executive, Paul Deighton.
Graham White, head of HR at Surrey County Council, said the reporting line and six-figure package were encouraging.
“It’s very heartening for HR and shows that it’s finally being recognised as critical to the success of an organisation,” he said.
Richard Smelt, global HR director at Carphone Warehouse, said that the HR director should only ever be accountable to the chief executive, and that the role sounded very attractive.
A spokeswoman for the ODA, which is responsible for delivering the permanent venues and infrastructure projects for the Olympics, denied that it had undervalued the role of HR in comparison to Locog.
“The scope of the Locog HR role is much wider and involves responsibility for considerably more staff,” she said. “The ODA will be a much smaller organisation with the bulk of our work carried out via contracts with external companies, not directly by ODA staff. In this context it makes sense for the HR function to be fully integrated with finance, which will be able to oversee both contracts and staff.”
Locog has an operating budget of around £2bn, drawn almost entirely from the private sector, including International Olympic Committee sponsors and 2012 ticket sales. By the time the games start, it is expected to employ about 3,500 people and be responsible for some 70,000 volunteers.