John Armitt

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For the New Zealand wrestler, see John Armitt (wrestler).
Sir John Armitt CBE
Theresa May visits Olympic Park 2011.jpg
Sir John Armitt (right) during a visit to the Olympic Park, 2011.
Born John Alexander Armitt
(1946-02-02) 2 February 1946 (age 69)
Edmonton, London, England
Alma mater Portsmouth College of Technology
London Business School
Occupation Chairman, National Express Group

Sir John Alexander Armitt, CBE, FREng,[1] FICE (born 2 February 1946) is an English civil engineer, who was from 2007 Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body which successfully built the venues, facilities and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games. He is President of the Institution of Civil Engineers for 2015-16,[2] having been a vice-president since 2012.[3]

He is also Chairman of the Council of the City and Guilds of London Institute, and took office in October 2012. He was Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council from 2007 until 2012. He was appointed Chairman of National Express Group on 1 January 2013, he took office on 1 February.[4]

Insignia of Knight Bachelor

Early life[edit]

Armitt was born in February 1946 in North London.[5] He is 6 ft 4 in tall.[6] He attended Portsmouth Northern Grammar School. He graduated in Civil Engineering from the Portsmouth College of Technology in 1966 and took his first job with John Laing Construction.[5] He has a master's degree from London Business School.


He spent 27 years with John Laing plc, on various projects including the Sizewell B nuclear power station [7] rising to become the Chairman of Laing's International and Civil Engineering Divisions.[8] In 1993 he was appointed Chief Executive of Union Railways, the company responsible for implementing the Channel Tunnel rail link. From 1997 to 2001 he was Chief Executive of Costain Group,[8] which he converted from an annual loss of £62M to a profit of £6.5M.[9] In 2001 he became Chief Executive of Railtrack, and from 2002 to 2007 its successor, Network Rail,[5] the not-for-dividend company which owns, maintains, and runs the railway infrastructure in Great Britain.

During his time at Network Rail he was believed by a survey sponsored by The Sunday Times to be the highest-paid public-sector employee in the UK.[10] Armitt’s salary and bonus of £878,000 - rising to more than £1m[11] when pension contributions are included, overtaking Adam Crozier, chief executive of Royal Mail.

On 2 November 2012 the Government announced that Armitt would be a member of the Airports Commission.[12]


On 16 July 2007 Network Rail named a Class 143 Diesel locomotive after him at London Euston. The powercar in question forms part of Network Rail's New Measurement Train. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering[1] and of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997 for services to the rail industry[5] and was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to engineering and construction as chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority.[13] His knighthood was criticised by the family of a victim of the Grayrigg derailment, as Armitt had been serving as chief executive of Network Rail at the time of the 2007 accident. Network Rail were prosecuted for the incident on the same day that Armitt's knighthood was conferred.[14]


  1. ^ a b "List of Fellows". 
  2. ^ "ICE Council". Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Bolton, Andy. "Armitt in frame for Presidency". New Civil Engineer 19 April 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d Network Rail News Release Tuesday 12 December 2006 Network Rail announces the intention of John Armitt to retire as Chief Executive
  6. ^ BBC News Business 3 October 2002 Hard Hat time for rail champion
  7. ^ The Times 9 May 2007
  8. ^ a b ODA Board ODA Website accessed 26 October 2008
  9. ^ "Rail crash report blames points". BBC News Online. 26 February 2007. 
  10. ^ Grimston, Jack; Kirk, Jon (8 October 2006). "Fat cats of the public sector take top pay". The Times (London). Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Network Rail Limited: Annual Report and Accounts 2006
  12. ^ "'Airports Commission membership'". UK Government 2012. 
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60009. p. 1. 31 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Grayrigg crash victim's son 'disgusted' by knighthood". BBC News. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
David Balmforth
President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
November 2015 –
Succeeded by