by David Owen
April 5, 2014 (ISN) – Richard Pound, the veteran Canadian lawyer and sports administrator, is to return to a key role in Olympic broadcasting, the Movement’s biggest money-spinner, at the age of 72.
The former World Anti-Doping Agency chairman is being appointed chairman of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), the body established in 2001 – the year Pound lost out to Jacques Rogge in the race for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Presidency – to be permanent host broadcaster for the Olympic Games.
As such, he assumes responsibility, in effect, for the Olympic Movement’s most important product – the international television and radio signals from the Games to rights-holding broadcasters around the world.
The new appointment comes 13 years after he stepped down from an 18-year stint as chairman of the IOC’s Television Rights Negotiations Commission.
In this post, he played a key role in high-stakes negotiations in the mid-1980s that kick-started the escalation in the value of Olympic broadcasting rights that continues to this day.
The Canadian has signalled his desire to remain in the thick of the action in the Movement in recent months, twice failing to win election to what would be a third spell on the IOC’s Executive Board.
The chairmanship of the OBS board was previously held by Hein Verbruggen, the former world cycling and SportAccord boss.
Also joining the OBS board is Gerardo Werthein, the Argentinian IOC member, who looks set to play an increasingly prominent part in Olympic broadcasting and commercial affairs in coming years, as chairman of the IOC Radio and Television Commission.
Other new board members include Juan Antonio Samaranch, son of the long-time IOC President of the same name, and Lana Haddad, the IOC’s recently appointed chief finance officer.
IOC President Thomas Bach also announced today that IOC Vice-President Yu Zaiqing of China, IOC Executive Board member Ugur Erdener of Turkey and Kenyan former distance runner Kipchoge Keino would be appointed as members of the Olympic Museum Foundation Board.