Decision on IOC global PR head close to completion

LAUSANNE - The International Olympic Committee is close to appointing a global director of communications -- a year after the departure of incumbent Franklin Servan-Schreiber.

Servan-Schreiber left the IOC in 2001, but recruitment for his replacement was put on hold while the body's presidential elections took place earlier last year.

IOC spokesman, Sandrine Chappuis said: "We took some time in recruiting because of the new president coming in -- we didn't want to go ahead and employ someone before they arrived."

President Jacques Rogge was elected in July last year to replace the outgoing head Juan Antonio Samaranch.

His appointment was surrounded by controversy when presidential candidate Kim Un-Yong made allegations of impropriety in the election procedure.

The body's director-general Francois Carrard has been overseeing the communications role while recruitment took place, supported by a skeleton press team of two, based in Switzerland.

Chappuis said the IOC had already shortlisted candidates for the top communications post and is a few weeks away from making a decision: "We have a shortlist and the recruitment procedure is very close to being completed."

The role will cover all international communications for the IOC, except sponsorship, which is overseen by the marketing division.

Servan-Schreiber joined the IOC in March 1999 with plans to restructure the body's PR department (PRWeek, 16 March 1999). At the time of his appointment, the PR team stood at nine staff, but has now shrunk to just two.

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