The engineer responsible for delivering the London 2012 Games infrastructure has won a new engineering prize recognising exceptional projects.

Sir John Armitt CBE FREng, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), is the first recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering Major Projects Award. He has delivered the massive project on time and to budget while under intense scrutiny from the rest of the world.

The project has consistently met targets throughout the building phase and set new benchmarks for sustainable construction and technical expertise, thanks to Sir John’s leadership in coordinating the work of hundreds of professionals to create new London landmarks. He was pivotal in all aspects of the Olympic and Paralympic Games infrastructure project, including: finance, engineering, environment, management and external relations, as well as acting as an ambassador for the project in explaining its complexities to the public.

Nominating Sir John for the award, Professor Peter Guthrie OBE FREng, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Development and Professor for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge, said: “Sir John Armitt is as close as it gets to a complete civil engineer today whose achievements and reputation are on the scale of the great Victorian engineers. He has embraced the opportunity to deliver one of the most prestigious, visible and successful engineering projects in the last 50 years.”

Ray O’Rourke KBE HonFREng, Chairman and Chief Executive of Laing O’Rourke, said: “The success of the London 2012 project hinged on Sir John’s deft leadership and understanding of the delivery requirements for this strategic project. He demonstrated great care in managing the politics surrounding the project and the many stakeholders who had an interest in it.”

Professor Robert Mair CBE FREng FRS, Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering, Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cambridge, said: “Sir John has been outstanding in leading the construction of the complex infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The project will have a major impact on society and it has been the focus of considerable attention around the world. Sir John has delivered this huge project on time and within budget, overcoming the many engineering and construction challenges.”

Sir John was previously Chief Executive of Network Rail and Railtrack and has extensive experience in the building, civil engineering and industrial construction markets.

HRH The Princess Royal presented Sir John with his award at the Academy's annual awards ceremony at London's Royal Opera House.

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. Sir John Armitt was appointed Chairman of the ODA in 2007 and has previously been Chief Executive of Network Rail, Railtrack, Union Railways, the company responsible for the development of the high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Costain. He joined John Laing as a graduate civil engineer and spent 27 years working on major construction projects, rising to Chairman of Laing International and Civil Engineering Divisions. He is now a Non-Executive Director of the Berkeley Group and an Advisory Board member of PWC.

For more information please contact

Sarah Griffiths at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0655