He has already held the post since 1 April 2007 and his tenure was due to expire next year. Science minister David Willets said: “I am delighted that Mr Armitt has agreed to remain as chair until 31 March 2012. He is a successful chair, whose wide experience as an engineer, senior manager and leader will continue to be of great benefit to the council.”
Armitt, who turns 65 in February, is paid £16,430 a year for the part-time role. For the past three years he has also been chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, for which he is paid £250,000 a year.
He began his glittering career with John Laing as a civil engineer in 1966, and was ultimately made chairman of Laing’s international and civil engineering divisions in 1987. In 1993 he left to become chief executive of Union Railways, the company responsible for developing the high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
In 1997 he moved to Costain as chief executive and in 2001 joined Railtrack in its dying days, also chief executive. The following year he was made chief executive of successor body Network Rail.
He is currently also a non-executive director of Berkeley Group and a member of the advisory boards of PwC and Siemens. He was awarded the CBE in 1996 and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Civil Engineers.