Former Brazil central bank president Meirelles to oversee Rio's preparations for 2016 Olympics

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 15, 2011; 9:54 AM

SAO PAULO - Former Brazil central bank president Henrique Meirelles will be in charge of the government body that will oversee Rio de Janeiro's preparations for the 2016 Olympics.

Meirelles was appointed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to head the Olympic Public Authority, which will coordinate all levels of government in the Olympic buildup.

Meirelles will be responsible for overseeing public services and the implementation and completion of the infrastructure needed in Rio to host the first Olympics in South America.

Meirelles was the longest-serving central bank head in Brazil, holding the post for eight years during the presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The 65-year-old Meirelles will be in charge of a staff of nearly 200 people and an Olympic budget of about $14 billion. One of his tasks will be to avoid a budget overrun similar to what occurred when Rio held the 2007 Pan American Games.

A former executive at BankBoston, Meirelles helped Brazil's economy reach stability through orthodox monetary policies and high interest rates that kept a lid on inflation.

"I believe my appointment happened not only because of my work in the central bank, but also because of the experience I gained in an international career of 30 years," he said.

The creation of the Olympic Public Authority was one of the guarantees given by Brazil to the IOC when Rio bid for the games.

Brazil also will host the 2014 World Cup.

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