ATR First - New Chair for Olympic Broadcasting Services

(ATR) The IOC moves quickly to name a successor to Richard Pound.

(ATR) The IOC moves quickly to name a successor to Richard Pound.

Argentinian IOC member Gerardo Werthein is the choice to head Olympic Broadcasting Services. The OBS board confirmed the decision by conference call August 16.

Werthein has been an IOC member since 2011 and is president of the Argentina National Olympic Committee. He already serves on the OBS board of directors.

Pound, the doyen of the IOC, is one of the most experienced members in the field of Olympic broadcasting. But he is also the most outspoken critic of the IOC among the 96 current members. In particular, Pound’s belief that the IOC has mishandled the Russian doping scandal has provoked attacks against him by other members, including Werthein.

The welcome mat was pulled from Pound last week by IOC President Thomas Bach, ending his four year tenure as OBS chair. Bach appointed Pound four years ago in happier times between the two men.

Pound, a lawyer, was also stripped of his membership on the Legal Affairs Commission. Chair John Coates has sparred with Pound in the past year, doubting the Canadian’s worthiness to be doyen. A member since 1978, Pound is 76 and will retire from the IOC in 2022.

IOC officials have privately indicated to Around the Rings that the change is needed to bring a new generation of leadership to the IOC.

Werthein, 63, is a veterinarian with a specialty in equine care. He also owns a telecommunications firm in Argentina. His other IOC functions include chair of the IOC Digital Technology Commission and the Youth Olympic Games this October in Buenos Aires.

Werthein will lead the two boards established to oversee OBS. One of them is chartered in Switzerland where the IOC is domiciled, the other in Spain where OBS is headquartered in Madrid.

The company is responsible for producing the coverage of the events in the Olympics for the world’s rights holding broadcasters. OBS was launched in 2001, taking over a responsibility once held by each organizing committee. The result has been a standardized product from Games to Games and cost-savings for organizing committees. OBS operates the massive International Broadcasting Center assembled for each Games.

Reported by Ed Hula.