John Armitt – Keynote Speaker

Chairman of the National Express Group, previously Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority

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Specialist Subjects

  • Design
  • Innovation/Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Olympics
  • Transport
  • Construction


  • English


Sir John Armitt is currently Chairman of the National Express Group and City & Guilds, and is Deputy Chairman of the Berkeley Group. Sir John is also a member of the Board of Transport for London and the Airports Commission and is Senior Vice President of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

In September 2013 the Armitt Review, Sir John’s independent review of long term infrastructure planning in the UK, was published; the review is now Labour Party policy.

After leaving John Laing plc in 1993, where Sir John had been Chairman of Laing’s international and civil engineering divisions, he became Chief Executive of Union Railways. In 1997 he became Chief Executive of Costain, a position he held until 2001. Sir John was Chief Executive of Railtrack plc from 2001-2002, Chief Executive of Network Rail from 2002-2007 and Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority from 2007-2014.

As Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, John Armitt lead the team that was responsible for the construction of the venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympics, including the Olympic Park, planning and funding transport for the Games and regulating advertising and street trading. Many people consider Sir John a real hero of the Olympic Games, as the ODA delivered the venues on time and under budget to LOCOG nine months before the start of the Olympics.

Sir John is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and City and Guilds of London Institute and has received honorary doctorates from the universities of Portsmouth, Birmingham, Reading and Warwick. He was Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council from 2007-2012.

Sir John Armitt was awarded the CBE in 1996 for his contribution to the rail industry and received a knighthood in 2012 for services to engineering and construction.

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