Sir John Alexander Armitt, CBE, FREng, FICE (born 2 February 1946) is an English civil engineer, who was from 2007 Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body which successfully built the venues, facilities and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games. He was President of the Institution of Civil Engineers for 2015-16, having been a vice-president since 2012.
He is also Chairman of the Council of the City and Guilds of London Institute, and took office in October 2012. He was Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council from 2007 until 2012. He was appointed Chairman of National Express Group on 1 January 2013, he took office on 1 February.
Armitt was born in February 1946 in North London. He is 6 ft 4 in tall. He attended Portsmouth Northern Grammar School. He graduated in Civil Engineering from the Portsmouth College of Technology in 1966 and took his first job with John Laing Construction. He has a master's degree from London Business School.
He spent 27 years with John Laing plc, on various projects including the Sizewell B nuclear power station rising to become the Chairman of Laing's International and Civil Engineering Divisions. In 1993 he was appointed Chief Executive of Union Railways, the company responsible for implementing the Channel Tunnel rail link. From 1997 to 2001 he was Chief Executive of Costain Group, which he converted from an annual loss of £62M to a profit of £6.5M. In 2001 he became Chief Executive of Railtrack, and from 2002 to 2007 its successor, Network Rail, the not-for-dividend company which owns, maintains, and runs the railway infrastructure in Great Britain.
During his time at Network Rail he was believed by a survey sponsored by The Sunday Times to be the highest-paid public-sector employee in the UK. Armitt’s salary and bonus of £878,000 - rising to more than £1m when pension contributions are included, overtaking Adam Crozier, chief executive of Royal Mail.
On 2 November 2012 the Government announced that Armitt would be a member of the Airports Commission. He is also deputy chairman of the Berkeley Group and a Transport for London board member. The 'Armitt Review', an independent review of long-term UK infrastructure planning, was published in September 2013, and is UK Labour Party policy.
He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997 for services to the rail industry. On 16 July 2007 Network Rail named a Class 43 Diesel locomotive after him at London Euston. The powercar in question forms part of Network Rail's New Measurement Train. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
He was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to engineering and construction as chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority. His knighthood was criticised by the family of a victim of the Grayrigg derailment, as Armitt had been serving as chief executive of Network Rail at the time of the 2007 accident. Network Rail were prosecuted for the incident on the same day that Armitt's knighthood was conferred.