Simon Clegg appointed Dubai Expo 2020 chief operating officer

A former chief executive of the British Olympic Association and Ipswich Town Football Club in England.

Dubai Expo 2020 said yesterday that it has hired as its chief operating officer an executive with a track record of delivering global sporting events.

Simon Clegg, previously the chief executive of the British Olympic Association and Ipswich Town Football Club, also held a similar position on the organising committee of last summer’s inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Dubai’s Expo is expected to attract 25 million visitors to the UAE – of which 70 per cent will be coming from overseas – according to Mr Clegg.

The event is expected to cement Dubai’s position as “one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations”, he said in a statement from Expo 2020.

Reem Al Hashimy, Expo 2020 director general and UAE minister of state for international cooperation, said Mr Clegg’s “management and commercial skills will strengthen our team and help ensure the successful delivery of our 1,082-acre site”.

In Baku, Mr Clegg led a team of 2,500 full-time staff, supported by 12,000 volunteers, organising the event in “an unprecedented compressed time frame delivering a global television footprint of 832 million households”.

Mr Clegg managed the British team at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and led the campaign to persuade the British government and the mayor of London to bid to host the 2012 Games. He was also a board member for the 2012 Games bid and organising committees.

In January, the footballer Lio­nel Messi was named as a global ambassador for the Dubai Expo and last month the designs were chosen for three of the main exhibition pavilions.

They were selected following an international architecture competition run by Emaar Properties on behalf of the Expo 2020 committee.

It sought ideas for three themed pavilions, ­titled Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, that form a central part of the Expo’s theme Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

selgazzar@thenational.aeFollow The National's Business section on Twitter