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London 2012 has a head of new media

Submitted by rickeyre on September 6, 2006 - 11:42am

Congratulations to a former colleague of mine, Alex Balfour, on his appointment as Head of New Media for the London 2012 Organising Committee - the body which is responsible for staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Alex, whom I worked alongside (in a cyberspace manner of speaking) with CricInfo between 1996 and 2001, will be responsible for, according to the LOCOG press release issued last Friday. Answering to the LOCOG Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Alex will lead the creation, development and management of online structures and facilities for London 2012 over the next six years.

I am sure Alex will excel in his new role and I wish him all the best. Nonetheless, I should draw attention to a factual howler that appears in the LOCOG press release and has found its way into the headings of a few reports on the appointment:

As co-founder and Chairman of CricInfo Alex built one of the world's largest sports websites from scratch with 20 million customers.

By no stretch of the imagination can Alex be considered a "co-founder" of CricInfo. Alex first became involved with CricInfo in 1995 as a volunteer, a few months before I did, at which time it already had an established presence on the internet as a gopher database hosted on a server at the University of Oregon. CricInfo was founded by Dr Simon King in 1993, and while a number of US-based Indian expats came on board in those formative days of IRC, telnet and gopher, Alex's involvement was still two years away.

Alex was, however, a foundation member of CricInfo's board of directors when it became a corporation towards the end of 1999, when he was employed by us as Head of Business Development. (Does this make him a "co-founder" of CricInfo? I'm probably one too, having been one of 53 foundation shareholders in the business when it was corporatised.) He became chairman of CricInfo Ltd towards the end of 2001, after a financial near-death experience saw the departure of Dr King from the company and the retrenchment of a large number of its staff, including me.

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