Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Former Rail Boss Takes Charge of Olympics Work

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Former Rail Boss Takes Charge of Olympics Work

Article excerpt

JOHN ARMITT, the engineering supremo and outgoing boss of Network Rail, has been chosen as the new chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority- arguably the toughest job in the run-up to the 2012 Games.

Mr Armitt, 60, who has four decades' experience in the construction industry and was among the chief architects of the Channel Tunnel rail link (CTRL), will be responsible for turning a wasteland in Stratford into the 500-acre Olympic Park.

Mr Armitt, appointed by Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, said it was a "tremendous honour".

He will start in September.

The chairman's job became open when the original appointment, American engineer Jack Lemley, left last October saying he was frustrated at not being able to get on with the job.

Armitt's CV includes stints at property developer John Laing, Union Railways and construction company Costain, whose financial fortunes he turned round before taking the [pounds sterling]450,000- a-year chief executive's job at Network Rail, formerly Railtrack.

His experience of transport projects were a major factor for the role at the ODA, which is also responsible for local transport links such as upgrading the Stratford regional station.

On the CTRL, he became versed in delivering a major project in tandem with government - a key element of the ODA job.

Armitt is also rated as a communicator and a deft PR touch will be crucial for a project involving billions from the public purse.

He will work alongside chief executive David Higgins and will be paid [pounds sterling]250,000 a year for a three-and-a-half-day week. Ms Jowell said: "He has a huge amount of experience, and is well-placed to lead an organisation charged with delivering one of the most complex building and regeneration projects this country has ever seen."

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Page 12

What's in his in-tray

Stakeholder management Balancing demands of government with those of the Mayor and local community To secure

To secure planning approval for the 500-acre park A revised application was made by the ODA this year after it rejigged the plan of venues Building To let the contracts to design the "big four" building projects - the main stadium, aquatics centre, velopark and media centre

Transport To oversee new transport links, chiefly the Stratford regional station upgrade Scrutiny Armitt will be called to account by the London Assembly and select committees.

He will chair monthly ODA board meetings Decontaminating and clearing the Olympic Park Earthworks could cost up to [pounds sterling]80 million depending on degree of contamination.

Lower Lea Valley businesses are due to have been relocated before he arrives community the A application was ODA this year Scrutiny Armitt called by Assembly select He will ODA board meetings

JOHN ARMITT, the engineering supremo and outgoing boss of Network Rail, has been chosen as the new chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority - arguably the toughest job in the run-up to the 2012 Games. …

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