Lemley shock as he leaves key 2012 job

The first cracks in the carefully structured senior management pulled together to stage the 2012 Games in London may have begun to appear, with the departure of the Olympic Delivery Authority chairman Jack Lemley, less than a year after being appointed.

The American, who ran the Anglo-French group which designed and built the Channel Tunnel, says he wants to spend more time on his construction business, but it is believed that health issues with the septugenarian, who had never moved to London, were also a factor in the decision.

The ODA is the body responsible for delivering the venues and infrastructure for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012.

Lemley was appointed as chairman in November last year but officially took the role only in March. Civil Aviation Authority chairman Sir Roy McNulty has been given the role in a temporary capacity.

Lemley’s exit underlines the risks inherent in hiring an American in his 70s for such a demanding post. He leaves his post three years early. His health has been an issue ever since he suffered an irregular heartbeat in the summer.

“It has been a privilege to chair the ODA and lead the organisation through its formative stages,” Lemley said last night.