Bid for glory

Leading London's 2012 Olympic tender is the latest challenge for Barbara Cassani, who proved herself as boss of airline Go. Why did she take it up, asks Rebecca Hoar.

by Rebecca Hoar

Things are strangely quiet up on the 50th floor of London's Canary Wharf. Floor-to-ceiling windows shut out the roar of the planes on their approach to City airport, and there's no noise from the cars and trains 800 feet below. Although this is the site of London 2012, organisers of the UK's bid to host the Olympics, there are just a few desks pushed together in one corner of the room. A small group of employees work silently, heads down; it's all very subdued.

Into the middle of this walks Barbara Cassani, the bold Bostonian who made her name with BA and Go and who's now the bid's chairman. Starbucks coffee in hand, she wanders around the cluster of desks, talking to each employee in turn. It's micromanagement with a smile.

Cassani has always been passionate about her people, and watching her greet her staff, you can see why former employees at Go clubbed together to buy her an expensive Italian saddle as a goodbye present.

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