John Armitt, the chief executive of Network Rail, has been appointed chairman of The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). Armitt previously worked for construction company John Laing and Costain.

“John Armitt will be an outstanding leader of a world class team at the Olympic Delivery Authority,” said Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell announcing the appointment. “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.”

Armitt described his new appointment a ‘tremendous honour’. He will take up his new post at the beginning of September. Roy McNulty, currently acting chair of the ODA, will revert to deputy when Armitt takes over.

The ODA has been looking for a new head since Jack Lemley quit the post in October 2006. Since then Lemley has been a very vocal opponent of the ODA attacking its budget and raising fears of chemical contamination.