Armitt will step down as Network Rail's chief executive and will take up Olympic Delivery Authority post in September

John Armitt has been appointed chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority. Armitt, who has been chief executive of Network Rail since 2002, will take up the post on September 1.

Roy McNulty, currently acting chair of the ODA, will revert to deputy when Armitt takes over.

John Armitt
Armitt will serve five-year term

Armitt, who has previously worked for construction company John Laing and Costain, said delivering the games would be challenging.

He said: “The ODA has a critical part to play in delivering the venues and infrastructure, not just for the Games but for generations to come. It has made a very good start to this hugely challenging project and I look forward to providing leadership as the programme now moves to the next stage.”

Armitt will work a three and a half day week and will be paid £250,000 pa. He will serve a five-year term.

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell said Armitt had a lot of experience in construction and engineering. She said: “He has a formidable amount of experience in engineering and construction, and is so well placed to lead an organisation charged with delivering one of the biggest and most complex building and regeneration projects this country has ever seen.”

The ODA has been searching for a new chair since Jack Lemley dramatically quit in October last year. Since then he has been a vociferous critic of the ODA, claiming, amongst other allegations, that his fears over the chemical contamination of the sites were dismissed, the cost of clean-up was ignored and that the ODA was pressured to hide huge sums that should have been added to the Olympics budget.

Other parties claim that it was likely he was due to be sacked at a meeting with Olympics minister Tessa Jowell in October if he had not agreed to resign and take a severance package of double the amount he was legally due.