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Volume 21 No. 1
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Plugged In: Dermot Boden

Citi Chief Brand Officer Dermot Boden was born in Dublin but moved to London at the age of 4. When he travels around London, he sees the city where he grew up from a different vantage point than most U.S. sponsor executives. He talks about his impressions on how the city is managing the Olympics so far.

I'm a slightly confused Irelander, but I was privileged to grow up here. I really love this country. I was in tears [Friday] night [during the opening ceremony]. I’m very proud of what London delivered and achieved. The country is going through a rough time right now, but you wouldn’t sense it from the atmosphere and the attitude of people. I’m very proud London’s hosting its third Games. I thought [in the opening cermony] we saw the British humor is self-effacing and how edgy, impactful and self-deprecating it is. They’ve done a very good job of inculcating [the Olympics] through the city.

What impressed you the most?
For the first time in history, the flame left the host country, once it arrived in the country, to go to another. It went to Dublin. That’s incredible.

What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to seeing Wimbledon. You get so used to the way the whole thing is managed. It will be interesting, the sacred grass on the center court with people in non-white. It will be interesting to see the subtle branding that’s there for Rolex and others removed.

On the reinvention of east London as an Olympic Park: I said to someone last night there would be little chance of going out there when I lived here. Everything I hear is that there’s a sense they’ve figured out how to manage [the venues] going forward. I am a West Ham United fan. They may take the ground forward. That would be very impressive. The stadium looks great. It seems like a re-energized area. It’s been a tough area. We hope for the best. I hope it isn’t the white elephant that we’ve seen in other cities.

What are you anticipating the legacy to be? The legacy of the Games for Citi is that I hope we have really connected, we’ve connected our brand in a way that people feel like is genuine in supporting people on their journey from ambition to achievement. The legacy of the Games itself is what Lord [Sebastian] Coe expressed: inspiring a generation. If through this Games we get people more interested in sport and the optimism of the opportunity of having a dream and aspiring to get there and getting there is a very proud legacy.