Carphone boss given Olympic purse strings

Boris Johnson has signed up Carphone Warehouse's less-famous co-founder to oversee the £9.3bn Olympic budget...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The new London Mayor has appointed David Ross – the man who founded Carphone alongside Charles Dunstone – as his representative on the London Olympic Games Organising Committee. Ross’s job will be to make sure that the Games get delivered on time and on budget, while also ensuring that they leave a lasting legacy by getting more kids involved with sport. Good luck with that one…

The appointment is a result of Johnson’s election pledge to make sure that the Olympics deliver the best possible value for money (he’s already recruited former Labour sports minister Kate Hoey to help with the legacy stuff). With budgets having spiralled from the original estimates, there’s a lot of nervousness that the Games could come at too high a cost – and let’s face it, our record on big public building projects in London hasn’t been great recently (in fact, Ross used to sit on the board of Wembley – but try not to hold that against him).

Boris certainly sounds happy about the whole thing, describing Ross as ‘one of Britain's leading entrepreneurs... [who] brings years of business experience to the role.’ LOCOG chairman Lord Coe was equally generous with his praise, describing Ross as ‘one of the UK’s most successful businessmen’ and suggesting that ‘his interest in sport combined with his strong commercial acumen’ would make him ‘an important part of the team’. Although since Ross’s job will presumably be to hassle Coe and co over every penny they spend, we imagine the two could have a slightly uneasy relationship.

Naturally there was no comment from Ross himself (he gives interviews about as often as Brigitte Bardot), but his appointment is likely to be well received by the City. Many people reckon that while Dunstone is the high-profile front-man of Carphone Warehouse, Ross is the real brains of the operation – the Noel to Charlie’s Liam, if you like. Unless of course his ongoing reticence has just created an undeserved air of mystique..

Since Ross is clearly not doing this for the money – the role will be unpaid, and with an estimated £870m in the bank he’s not exactly short of cash – he’s clearly attracted by the idea of leaving a lasting impression. For all our sakes, let’s hope he does so for the right reasons...

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