John Armitt, the man who will become non-executive chairman of The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on 1 September, said that his priority was to deliver the 2012 Games on budget and on time. “It’s one of the highest profile and most complex projects in the world but it has the fundamental issue that there is only one date and therefore we can’t miss that date,” Armitt told reporters at the ODA’s London headquarters yesterday. Armitt was named last week as the man to replace Jack Lemley who left last year, resulting in months of negative media coverage.

“The ODA’s number one priority is getting it finished on time,” said the Railtrack chief executive. “There is only one date, and that adds to the pressure but it makes people quickly focused on what the priorities are.”

Armitt tried to dispel fears that the budget for building and staging the Games would rise above £9.3bn announced by Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell two months ago. “All I know is that a lot of work was done by the ODA in reaching the budget that was announced recently,” he said. “We know how much money we’ve got to work with and that’s it.”

Armitt, 60, has been involved in several major construction projects, including the Channel Tunnel. Armitt told reporters the that delivering the Games was the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’.