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ODA Chairman Lemley Resigns

London's Olympic project suffered a serious setback yesterday with the sudden resignation of the American building chief recruited to ensure the project was delivered on time and on budget.

Jack Lemley, known in the construction industry as the Terminator because of his uncompromising approach, had been chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority for less than a year and had more than three years of his contract to run. He said that he wanted to return to the United States to run his increasingly busy construction consultancy, but his sudden departure caught the government and other organisations involved in London 2012 by surprise.

Although the official explanation made no reference to his health, the 71-year-old was struggling to cope with the intense workload at the ODA, which is responsible for the £2.5bn project to build the venues and infrastructure for the games at Stratford, east London.

This year he received treatment for arhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, and his general health is understood to have since deteriorated. An ODA spokesman said: "Jack sets out the reason for his departure. His health is not an issue." In a statement yesterday Mr Lemley, who has already returned to the US, said the first phase of the ODA's work had been completed.

From: Games setback as 'Terminator' bows out, Andrew Culf, The Guardian, October 19, 2006

More at: Terminator

When he was appointed on a four-year contract to run until 2010 he was certain it would not affect his business interests back in the United States and spoke in glowing terms of setting up home in London. However, yesterday he cited business reasons and the need to concentrate on his US construction interests for his decision.

From: Mihir Bose, Daily Telegraph, 19 10 06

More at: Business reasons

Hype samples

"People describe this project as more of a marathon than a sprint," says Lemley. "I would say that it's a marathon we have to run in Olympic record time."

The American plans still to be chairman in 2012 to see the fruits of his labours and says he is happy working 14 or 15 hours every day, seven days a week.

So does Lemley think he has taken on mission impossible? "I don't listen to the cynics," he says. "I am one of life's optimists."

2 April 06

Source: Olympic Forum 1

And: Olympic Forum 2

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