Cassani 'flattered' by City job offers

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Barbara Cassani, who resigned this week as the leader of London's bid to stage the Olympic Games in 2012, has been inundated with approaches from headhunters urging her to make a return to a top job in the City.

Barbara Cassani, who resigned this week as the leader of London's bid to stage the Olympic Games in 2012, has been inundated with approaches from headhunters urging her to make a return to a top job in the City.

The Boston-born businesswoman's CV combined with her energy and organisation skills have made her a prime candidate for a number of executive roles ranging from the travel industry to the current chairman's vacancy at Marks & Spencer.

City sources said yesterday that Ms Cassani's name would almost inevitably be added to the list of candidates being compiled in the search for a replacement for chairman Luc Vandevelde, who announced his departure earlier this month. Ms Cassani, 43, has been on the M&S board before, briefly taking on a non-executive post before resigning that position to concentrate on chairing the Olympic bid.

Last Wednesday she made the surprise announcement that after a year in the Olympic job she was handing over leadership to Sebastian Coe. Ms Cassani now has the title of vice chairman and will work three days a week at the bid's Canary Wharf headquarters preparing the "bid book", a detailed blueprint to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee by 15 November.

After then, much of the bid work is expected to be handled by other executives, crucially chief executive Keith Mills, the millionaire founder of AirMiles, leaving Ms Cassani ripe for poaching. However, friends said last night that while she was "flattered" to have been linked with a number of high-profile jobs, she was unlikely to add greatly to her current workload before the end of the year.

That hasn't stopped the speculation though about what her next move might be. A source who has helped forge Ms Cassani's career over the past five years said: "There is a lot of scope for where she might go."

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