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Head of company preparing Rio for Olympics steps down

Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, Olympics czar for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, smiles during an interview with Reuters in Rio de Janeiro Septemb
Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, Olympics czar for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, smiles during an interview with Reuters in Rio de Janeiro Septemb

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The president of the municipal company in charge of preparing Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics resigned, city officials said.

Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, a highly respected business executive who once ran a major Brazilian steelmaker, will step down next month, just over two years before Rio hosts the first Olympics ever held in South America.

Her departure from the Municipal Olympic Company, charged with spearheading all preparations by the city government ahead of the games, comes as Rio organizers and the International Olympic Committee spar over delays in everything from the construction of key venues to the overall budget for the event.

Last week, after a visit to evaluate the city's preparations, an IOC committee said it was "crucial" that Rio settle upon a budget and clarify what government agencies will be responsible for various projects that have yet to get started.

This week, local organizers missed another deadline, failing to unveil a budget expected by the end of March.

City officials did not specify why Marques decided to leave, but said she has agreed to continue as an informal advisor to Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; editing by Justin Palmer)

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