Carrion quits as head of IOC finance commission
LONDON (AP) — Richard Carrion, the Puerto Rican banking executive who was instrumental in building up the financial security of the IOC, has resigned from his key roles in the Olympic body following his failed bid for the presidency.
Carrion quit his “different positions within the IOC,” including as chairman of the finance commission, the International Olympic Committee said Wednesday. He had held that position since 2002.
Carrion also resigned as the IOC’s negotiator of television rights deals outside Europe, but has agreed to remain in that role until the Feb. 7-23 Winter Games in Sochi in order to “assist in the transition process” under new IOC President Thomas Bach.
While remaining as a regular IOC member, Carrion will also leave his position as chairman of the audit committee and as a member of the marketing commission and coordination commission for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Carrion’s resignations mark the first major shake-up at the IOC since Bach’s election on Sept. 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bach received 49 votes in the second round to secure a winning majority, while Carrion finished second in the six-man field with 29 votes.
Carrion offered his resignations in a letter to Bach a few days after the election. The resignations were formally accepted last Friday at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“It has been an extraordinary privilege and experience to have chaired the IOC Finance Commission for the past 11 years and to have fulfilled agreements that have helped secure a solid financial foundation for the Olympic Movement,” Carrion said in a statement.
“I have always thought that a new leader needs room to set a course and select his team. As such, I submitted my resignation for President Bach’s consideration. I look forward to continuing my service as an IOC member, and help in any way with the new leadership’s transition.”
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Carrion said in his letter to Bach that he wanted to let the new president “have the latitude to set priorities and select the team to carry them out.”
“He made it clear he was happy to help with any transition and that he would continue with TV negotiations in the meantime,” Adams told The Associated Press.
Carrion, widely respected as the IOC’s top money man, negotiated the record $4.38 billion deal with NBC for the U.S. TV rights through the 2020 Olympics. He has also overseen the growth of the IOC’s financial reserves from $100 million to $900 million over the past decade.
Carrion, chairman and CEO of Popular Inc. and Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, served on the IOC’s policy-making executive board from 2004-12.
His resignation from his key positions follows the pattern from the previous IOC presidential election, when Canada’s Dick Pound quit as chair of the marketing commission and as TV rights negotiator after losing to Jacques Rogge in the 2001 vote.
The IOC said Bach asked Singapore’s Ng Ser Miang, who also ran unsuccessfully for president last month, to chair the next meeting of the finance commission in December.
Bach will review the composition of all the IOC commissions after the Sochi Games.
Carrion’s resignations came as Bach announced the appointment of IOC vice president John Coates of Australia to head the coordination commission for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The Japanese capital defeated Istanbul and Madrid in the IOC vote in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.
Alex Gilady of Israel will serve as vice chairman of the Tokyo panel, and Sebastian Coe was among those named to the 16-person commission.
Bach also asked Arne Ljungqvist of Sweden and Gerhard Heiberg of Norway to stay on as chairmen of the medical and marketing commissions, respectively, through Sochi. Their terms had been set to expire after the Buenos Aires meeting. Former International Cycling Union head Hein Verbruggen of the Netherlands continues as head of the Olympic Broadcasting System through Sochi.
Bach appointed former Namibian sprinter Frank Fredericks to head the coordination commission for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.