Olympic chair joins National Express board

 
Marion Dakers
THE HEAD of the Olympic Delivery Authority has been picked to chair transport group National Express.

Sir John Armitt was yesterday unveiled as the rail and bus firm’s new chairman from 1 February, replacing John Devaney, who is leaving after four years to focus on other roles.

The engineering stalwart has chaired the ODA since 2007, overseeing the transformation of the Olympic venues.

“His exceptionally strong international track record and extensive knowledge of the UK transport sector meant he was an ideal candidate for the role,” said National Express senior independent director Tim Score in a statement announcing the appointment.

“Sir John will now oversee this next phase as we continue to deliver operational excellence while developing a new pipeline of opportunities.”

The new chairman’s transport pedigree will help National Express as it battles tough conditions in Spain and cutbacks to UK subsidised travel.

Sir John was chief executive of Railtrack and, following its collapse, Network Rail between 2001 and 2007. He has also led Costain, Channel Tunnel developer Union Railways and the international division of John Laing.

He was knighted in 2012 for services to engineering and construction. Sir John is also a member of the Davies Commission, set up by the government earlier this month to examine the future of UK aviation.