INTERNATIONAL: Decision on IOC global PR head close to completion

LAUSANNE: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) 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.



Chappuis said the IOC is currently driving intensive PR and

communications campaigns ahead of the Winter Games in Salt Lake City,

Utah, next month.



The IOC retains PR agency Hill & Knowlton for ad hoc external PR

support.



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