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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Cassani to lead London Olympic bid
Made 16m from the sale of Go
Grew up in Boston and San Francisco
Lived in London for 17 years
Married to a British investment banker
American Barbara Cassani has been named as the head of London's 2012 Olympic bid.

US-born Cassani got the nod ahead of New Zealand advertising executive Kevin Roberts after several leading contenders dropped out, saying they didn't have enough time for the 200,000 a year post.

Former Granada chairman Sir Charles Allen, one of the candidates who pulled out, has been appointed as Cassani's deputy - at her request.

Cassani, who has two children, is confident she can bring the Olympics and Paralympics back to Britain.

"I have taken this job because I know we can win," Cassani said.

"London is a world-class city and we can deliver a world-class Games.

"The children of Britain need to get into the pool and onto the track because in 2012 they'll be competing for gold - in London."

The 42-year-old became one of the most high-profile business figures in the UK after successfully establishing no-frills airline Go.

She left the company last year when it was taken over by its rival Easyjet.

The prize is worth chasing and Barbara Cassani is the woman to lead the chase
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, whose department was involved in the selection process, believes Cassani's impressive record of delivering success made her the right choice for the job.

"Cassani has the skills, business acumen and drive to give London the best chance to bring the Games to the UK," said Jowell.

"We are confident that she will forge a team capable of beating off the stiff competition from our rivals.

"The prize is worth chasing. Barbara Cassani is the woman to lead the chase."

Cassani will be leading London's bid against several high-profile cities - including New York.

Madrid, Moscow, Istanbul, Leipzig, Paris and Havana are among the other cities in the running.

The International Olympic Committee will reveal its shortlist in May 2004 and will make the final choice on 6 July 2005.

The BBC's Jenny Scott
"Those who have worked with her say Cassani's energy and flair make her ideal for the job"

Barbara Cassani
"I'm a Londoner - this is my chance to give something back"

Barbara Cassani: Profile
17 Jun 03  |  Business

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