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VANOC reorganizes, brings in new blood

Dan Doyle added to executive team to oversee venue construction

Steve Matheson, the man in charge of Olympic venue construction, is the first casualty in a reorganization of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympics.

In a release issued Thursday evening, VANOC announced that Matheson was leaving the organization after almost two years as senior vice president of venue construction. Dan Doyle, former deputy minister of transportation, has been appointed executive vice president of construction.

VANOC CEO John Furlong said the move is one of a number of internal structural changes being made that had been planned for some time.

"It's very common for organizing committees to evolve their organizational structure as their Games draw nearer and the focus of work moves from planning to operations," Furlong said in the release. "These changes were made to add talent and create a framework for decision-making at the most senior levels to achieve our ultimate goal of staging the best possible Games," he said.

Other moves include merging some departments: sport with technology and legal with finance/administration.

As well, the reorganization reduces the number of executive vice presidents who report directly to Furlong from nine to seven. VANOC’s executive vice president team now numbers eight and includes Dave Cobb (revenue, marketing and communications), Rex McLennan (chief financial officer), Cathy Priestner (sport, Paralympic Games and venue management), Donna Wilson (human resources and sustainability), Terry Wright (service operations and ceremonies), Doyle (construction), Ward Chapin (information) and Kenneth Bagshaw (legal).

The reorganization was approved by the VANOC board on Thursday.

VANOC has promised to have venues ready two years prior to the 2010 Games in order to host test events and give Canadian athletes additional time to train at the venues. To meet that target construction of most venues must be substantially underway this year. Privately, however, some people had expressed concern that construction wasn’t moving ahead quickly enough.

In Whistler, construction of permanent buildings at the Nordic centre and the bobsleigh/luge track are planned for this summer. As well, work on the Dave Murray Downhill and Franz’s Run, which will be used for the alpine ski events, is scheduled to begin this summer.

Doyle, who has more than 30 years engineering experience with the Province of British Columbia and led development of the Sea to Sky Highway improvement project, was presumably brought in for his project management experience, including keeping venue construction on time and on budget.

"My family and I are thrilled to be joining Vancouver 2010's team," Doyle said in the release. "I am deeply committed to the Games and grateful to have the opportunity to provide direct input into a project that will add such positive and lasting legacies to our city, province and country."

VANOC board chair Jack Poole said: "With the 2006 Torino Winter Games now complete, the new structure approved by the Vancouver 2010 Board will ensure that VANOC has the most effective and efficient leadership and organizational structure to address the significant growth and operational challenges in the next three to four years."