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December 31, 2011 12:01 am
A knighthood for Charles Allen, best known in the media industry, is recognition for his behind-the-scenes role in the London Olympics preparations since the inception of the project eight years ago.
After Tony Blair’s cabinet agreed in 2003 to provide government support – after considerable hestiation – for a London bid, the former Granada chairman and ITV chief executive was a candidate to lead the bid attempt. He was instead chosen to be a vice-chairman in the bid team.
His principal role since the bid was won in 2005 has been as the unsung chairman of London 2012’s nations and regions group. Its purpose is to engage the rest of the UK in support of what is a £9.3bn project that primarily benefits the capital and the south-east. A board member of the London organising committee, he has also been on its audit committee since May.
Sir Charles is a long-standing Labour supporter, and the party announced in the summer that he would take up an unpaid advisory role to help its general secretary bring a more corporate structure to the organisation.
Also knighted is John Armitt, chairman since 2007 of the Olympic Delivery Authority whose task in building the Games venues and infrastructure of the Olympic Park is all but complete.
Formerly chief executive of Railtrack and Network Rail, he has steered the ODA’s spending programme, which is anticipated to end up costing £6.9bn. Its trickiest moment was in the height of the 2008-09 downturn which forced it to scrap plans for the private sector to fund construction of the Olympic village and the media centre and resort to public funding.
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