The former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, the frontrunner to become Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, has accepted a job at a major communications and sports marketing group heavily involved in the 2012 Games.
The appointment to Chime Communications could prove controversial with her mayoral rivals, but she said rules governing ministers taking jobs had been “scrupulously observed” and denied it would represent a distraction from her bid to become the capital’s mayor in 2016.
A senior post at the group is already held by Lord Coe, the head of the organising committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Dame Tessa, who stepped down as an MP this year, is set to be Chime Specialist Group’s executive chairman.
The company told PR Week that she would not be involved in any advocacy linked to her ministerial or parliamentary career. It said: “The role as executive chairman of the Chime Specialist Group will be entirely separate of any activity relating to the Mayor of London 2016 candidacy.”
A spokesman for Dame Tessa said: “Her contract with Chime is paid employment on a very limited and part-time basis.
“She is absolutely focused on the campaign to be Labour’s candidate for the London mayoralty, and on delivering the change that London needs.
“Every single rule that determines employment for former ministers has been scrupulously observed.”
Dame Tessa championed London’s successful bid and after the Coalition government came to office in 2010 remained on the Games’ organising committee.
Lord Coe was recruited by Chime in 2013 to be chairman of its sports marketing consultancy CSM. The company’s pre-tax profits leapt by 70 per cent in the year of the Olympics and Paralympics and, boosted by its involvement in the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and the Winter Olympics, reached more than £30m in 2014.
Dame Tessa retired as the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood at the election to concentrate on her bid to become London mayor.
She is regarded as the favourite to secure the Labour Party’s nomination and has been backed by a number of senior party figures.
A survey for the London Evening Standard put her on 37 per cent support among Labour supporters, with her nearest challenger, the Tottenham MP David Lammy, on 22 per cent.