Dick Pound slams selection process of Vancouver Olympic CEO

Former IOC vice-president Dick Pound has never been one to mince words.

With the naming of the CEO for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler set to be announced Friday, Pound, the current chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, criticized the delays that has marred the selection process thus far.

"The process has been hijacked," Pound told the Vancouver Sun.

The board of the Vancouver 2010 organizing committee, of which Pound is a member, will meet Friday to try and decide on the new Olympic CEO. John Furlong, the man who headed Vancouver's successful bid for the Games, is considered one of two top frontrunners for the other job.

The identity of the other top candidate has been kept secret.

Pound said he is angered over the selection process because he believed the search committee would present the 20-member board of directors with a ranked list of the most qualified applicants.

"And what I find, and I find it kind of insulting as a board member, is that the process has been hijacked," he said. "There is a group that wants a particular candidate and they don't much care how they go about getting it."

Pound said he thinks Furlong will be named CEO of the $6-billion project, but has serious doubts about his qualifications.

"Mr. Furlong is a perfectly capable person and a nice person but he doesn't have the experience that you need for this job," Pound said.

"I think it's very clear that the premier (Gordon Campbell) and whoever else is in his circle wanted (Vancouver 2010 bid committee chairman) Jack Poole as chairman and John Furlong as chief executive officer," added Pound.

Prior to Christmas, members of the International Olympic Committee subtly expressed frustration it's taken the Vancouver board so long to find a CEO. At the time, an IOC official said he hoped a CEO would be in place when by the time the Games' co-ordination commission comes to Vancouver for a March 30 to April 1 visit.

Vancouver was awarded the Games in a July 2 election in Prague.

To be named CEO, a candidate must be endorsed by 75 per cent of the board of directors. The person also must receive the approval of three of the four levels of government on the board.

The federal government, the province of B.C., the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the City of Vancouver all have representatives on the board.

A seven-member search committee headed by Vancouver businessman Michael Phelps has reviewed the applications of more than 200 people. Since many of those people are already employed, the committee has been very secretive about potential candidates.

There have been hints of division on the board over whether the job should go to Furlong, who is well liked in Vancouver and already has developed contacts with the IOC and international sports federations.