ODA’s director of finance Dennis Hone will replace Higgins who takes up chief executive post at rail body

David Higgins has left his post as chief executive of the ODA to take up the role of chief executive of Network Rail.

In a surprise move, he will be replaced by Dennis Hone, who has been director of finance and corporate services at the ODA for over four years.

John Armitt, chairman of the ODA, said: “David set up the ODA from scratch and leaves it with the project on time, within budget and on the verge of completing the first major venues on the Olympic Park. He has done all this at the same time as helping achieve a first class safety record and driving forward innovation in terms of sustainable construction. This is an exciting opportunity for David and I am sure he will do a brilliant job leading Network Rail over the years to come.”

Higgins said: “It has been a privilege to lead the ODA over the last five years. It is a great organisation with outstanding staff who can be justifiably proud of what they are achieving. There was a lot of scepticism when we won the bid as to whether the UK construction industry was up to the challenge.”

Their performance on the Olympic Park is demonstrating that they are world leaders. There is still hard work ahead but I am confident we will have created a fantastic stage for the Games in 2012 and that LOCOG will put on a brilliant show.”

Hone said: “This is a change of chief executive for the ODA but it does not mean a change of direction or focus. The challenge ahead of us is to continue to hit our milestones, bear down on costs and complete the venue construction at the same time as maintaining our excellent record on health and safety.”