November 09, 2012

SAO PAULO (AP) -- The 2016 Olympic organizing committee said Friday that executive Sidney Levy will take over as its new CEO as part of leadership changes made to "strengthen its organizational structure."

Levy has been in charge of several companies in Brazil and abroad, and replaces Leonardo Gryner, who becomes the committee's chief operations officer.

The moves come less than two months after committee employees were fired for illegally downloading files from the 2012 London team in a scandal that prompted widespread criticism of its officials.

The Rio committee said Friday the changes were not prompted by the scandal, claiming the restructuring process had already started before the illegal transfer of documents took place during the London Games. It said the "strategic" moves are aimed at improving "internal procedures and coordination between all areas."

"All initiatives are part of the restructuring that begun in June, as the new stage of preparation after the London 2012 Games," 2016 organizing committee president Carlos Nuzman said. "This will contribute to planning and delivery with excellence for the Rio 2016 Games."

Nuzman also downplayed Gryner's removal from the committee's second-most important leadership post, saying he will fit perfectly as the new COO.

"Gryner has long Olympic experience, having been involved in all Olympic Summer Games since 1976, and having been part of the Rio 2016 bid, and therefore has all the credentials to lead all operational areas of the Games," Nuzman said.

Gryner, who will report to Levy, is replacing Marco Aurelio Costa Vieira, a former military officer who had been hired in July and touted as "a professional with extensive experience in planning" and "an important addition" to the committee. A month earlier, former COO Roderlei Generali had been fired.

It wasn't clear if Costa Vieira would remain with the committee.

In September, the 2016 Olympic committee hired Renato Ciuchini as its chief commercial officer, replacing Flavio Pestana, who left for undisclosed personal reasons in February. The position was under the temporary responsibility of Gryner.

Gryner now will be responsible for the commercial, operations, sport and new communications and sustainability departments.

Levy is an engineer who was the president of Brazilian company Valid SA until last year. He was also president of DLR Lerchundi in Spain and the American Chamber of Commerce in Rio.

"I would like to thank Nuzman for the opportunity he has given and Gryner for the warm welcome," he said. "I am sure that I will have lots to learn from their long experience in the Olympic movement and I will bring my experience from the corporate world, which I hope will contribute to the success of one of the most important projects in the history of this country."

Levy will officially start Jan. 1 2013, but will participate in the International Olympic Committee's debriefing of the London Games, which will begin Nov. 17 in Rio de Janeiro.

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