By Duncan Mackay

Sir John Armitt at London 2012November 28 - Sir John Armit, the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), is to take on a new role next year as head of National Express, a multinational public transport company that operates bus, coach and tram services, it has been announced.

Sir John will join the company as a non-executive director on January 1, 2013, before officially taking over from John Devaney, who is stepping down after four years, on February 1.

The 66-year-old Londoner has been head of the ODA, the Government agency that was in charge of building the facilities and infrastructure for this year's Olympics and Paralympics, since 2007 when he replaced the American Jack Lemley.

He is credited with overseeing the construction of the widely-praised venues on the Olympic Park, including the main Stadium, Aquatic Centre and Velodrome, and playing a major role in the smooth running of the transport system during the Games.

Sir John has a track record in international construction, civil engineering and transport, both in the public and private sectors.

He is currently deputy chairman of Berkeley Group and is a member of the Transport for London Board. 

Last month Sir John accepted an invitation from Britain's opposition Labour party to draw up plans for an independent commission to assess the country's long-term infrastructure needs.

From 2001 to 2007 Sir John was chief executive of Network Rail and its predecessor, Railtrack, having previously been chief executive of Costain, an international engineering and construction group.

Before this he was chief executive of Union Railways, the company responsible for development of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and previously spent 27 years at John Laing plc rising to become chairman of the Laing International and Civil Engineering Divisions.

National Express coachNational Express are one of Britain's biggest coach operators but have interests all around the world

National Express, a FTSE 250 company whose headquarters are in Birmingham, operate mainly in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Spain, Portugal and Morocco and operate long-distance coach services across Europe.

"I am delighted to welcome Sir John as our new chairman," senior National Express independent director Tim Score, who led the recruitment process.

"His exceptionally strong international track record and extensive knowledge of the UK transport sector meant he was an ideal candidate for the role.

"Sir John will now oversee this next phase as we continue to deliver operational excellence while developing a new pipeline of opportunities across our portfolio in the US, Europe and North Africa to drive medium-term growth."

Sir John's role with the ODA is due to finish early next year as the company begins to wind down.

"I am very pleased to join National Express Group as its chairman, a company that is respected internationally for the quality of its services," he said.

"I would like to pay tribute to John Devaney for his chairmanship of the business and look forward to building on his successful tenure in the coming years."

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