Calgary 2026 have appointed Scott Hutcheson as chair as their potential bid for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games develops.
The appointment comes despite the City of Calgary continuing to assess whether to pursue a bid or abandon their plans.
A proposed plebiscite will also take place this year, with November viewed as the likely month for the public vote.
Should both verdicts go in favour of the potential bid, Calgary 2026 would submit a bid book to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in January 2019.
Hutcheson will be tasked with leading the completion of bid exploration and development work, which will include clarifying the vision and details of a potential Games in the Canadian city.
Crucially this will also involve developing a “more accurate hosting cost estimate”, which would be key to convincing city officials and the public to back the effort.
In 2017, Calgary 2026’s Bid Exploration Committee, which has so far spent CAD$5.2 million (£3 million/$4 million/€3.5 million) on exploring the possibility of a bid, estimated that the Games would cost $4.6 billion (£2.6 billion/€3.6 billion/€3 billion).
That budget could be revised next month, however.
“Calgary City Council is very pleased to have Mr Hutcheson take on this role as the Calgary 2026 Board Chair,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“He understands the opportunities and challenges ahead of us and is an excellent representative of Calgarians and our wider community.
“Of course, there are still many questions left to answer before we decide to submit a bid.
“With a board chair in place, we can confidently engage in thoughtful public discussion and deliberation.”
Hutcheson currently heads the board of WinSport, which owns and operates legacy assets from Calgary’s 1988 Winter Olympics.
He is the co-founder of Aspen Properties and currently serves as the company’s executive chair, and he is also the co-chair of the Winterstart board, which operates both the men’s and women’s Alpine World Cup ski races at Lake Louise.
He will assume the role formally at the first meeting of Calgary 2026’s board.
Calgary 2026 will now have to appoint a vice-chair and hire a chief executive, as well as work with bid partners as they appoint directors to the board.
“Today marks another step in the bid to bring the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to Calgary,” said Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
“I am impressed by Mr Hutcheson’s sound leadership, wealth of experience in guiding organisations, and passion for serving Canadians and communities.
“I am confident that Mr Hutcheson will engage and collaborate with partners and lead Calgary 2026 with dedication and energy toward a successful bid.”
Sion in Switzerland, Graz in Austria, Sapporo in Japan, Erzurum in Turkey and Stockholm in Sweden are among the other contenders for the 2026 Games, as well as a joint Italian bid from Milan, Turin and Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Sion must also face a referendum on Sunday (June 10).
A host city is due to be chosen by the IOC in 2019.