Sir John Armitt smiling to camera

Doctor of Science

A leader in engineering, who has influenced infrastructure planning for the UK.

After leaving his role as Chair of International and Civil Engineering divisions at John Laing plc in 1993, Sir John Armitt became Chief Executive of Union Railways. He then moved to Chief Executive of Costain in 1997, a position he held until 2001.

Over the decades that followed, he held leading roles in a range of high profile organisations that helped shape the fabric of the nation. He was Chief Executive of Railtrack plc (2001-2002), Chief Executive of Network Rail (2002-2007), Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority (2007-2014), Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2007-2012), a member of the Airports Commission (2012-2015), a member of London’s Board of Transport (2012-2016), and a Board member ­– and later Chair – of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission (2016- 2018). He sat on the Board of EXP0 2020 from 2016 to 2022.

From 2012 to 2021, Sir John was Chair of City & Guilds, an organisation dedicated to the delivery of work-based learning programmes. He served as President of the Institution of Civil Engineers from 2015 to 2016. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and City & Guilds of London Institute.  

In 2013, Sir John published an independent review of long-term infrastructure planning in the UK. The recommendations in the Armitt Review received widespread support and have, in large part, been adopted by Government, including in the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission.

Sir John has received honorary doctorates from the universities of Birmingham, Imperial College London, Portsmouth, Reading and Warwick. In 1996, he was awarded the CBE for his contribution to the rail industry. In 2012, he received a knighthood for services to engineering and construction. 

Today, Sir John is Chair of the National Express Group, and of the National Infrastructure Commission, and he sits on the Board of the Berkeley Group. In December 2022, he will be stepping down as Chair of National Express Group after ten years.