altMay 6 - Tom Russell, who is step down as group director for Olympic Legacy after only 18 months in the role, has been praised for his work by Harvey McGrath, chairman of the London Development Agency (LDA).


He said: "I would like to congratulate Tom who has made an outstanding contribution to securing an Olympic legacy for London.


"His experience from the regeneration of Manchester following the Commonwealth Games in 2002 has put London ahead of any other Olympic city in planning for the legacy uses of the Olympic Park."


Among the things that McGrath praised Russell for was bringing together the five Host Olympic Boroughs and the Olympic partners to set out a vision for physical, social and economic regeneration over the next 25 years, masterminding the legacy masterplan for the Olympic site, ensuring London benefits from a legacy now with 24,500 people accessing training, business, employment and sports opportunities, setting the financial framework for the future of the Olympic site and setting up the legacy company to deliver the Olympic legacy vision


Russell said: "It has been a privilege for me to have played a part in such an important project for London which, in the years to come, will transform the East End and the life prospects for many thousands of Londoners.


"I am proud of the work of the team I have led in laying the strongest possible foundations for the legacy of the 2012 Games. I leave the LDA in the clear knowledge that the future of the Olympic legacy is in safe hands wit


"h the new company set to undertake the delivery phase of this exciting project."


Baroness Margaret Ford said: "Tom has been instrumental in putting legacy at the heart of the Games.


"Thanks to the excellent groundwork set out by Tom and his team we are now in a good position to drive forward legacy and ultimately ensure the 2012 Games is seen as a significant milestone in the development of London."


London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "I would like to thank Tom Russell for the tremendous industry he has put into creating a solid foundation for a lasting Olympic legacy.


"We have now reached another landmark with the legacy company beginning to take shape and thanks to a gold medal performance by Tom they will be able to collect the baton and deliver a legacy which will reap benefits for generations to come not only in East London but across the capital and country."