Armitt will first become a senior independent director before taking over as deputy chairman at the next annual general meeting.
He replaces Victoria Mitchell, who will step down at the next AGM in September
The news comes as the company reported strong results for the for the six months to 31 October, with a 40 per cent increase in pre tax profit to £100 million and revenue up 70 per cent to £405m.
Chairman Tony Pidgeley said: “I am delighted to announce that John Armitt will become senior independent director before taking over as deputy chairman at the next AGM. John is currently chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, having previously been chief executive of Network Rail plc and Costain plc.”
Pidgley thanked Mitchell for her “significant contribution to the group”, and also welcomed Veronica Wadley and Glyn Barker to the board.
Berkeley confirmed that it is on track to double its earnings between April 2010 and April 2013. While the average sales price fell slightly to £254,000, this is expected to reverse in the second half of the year.
Pidgley welcomed recent announcements aimed at stimulating the delivery of new homes.
He said the draft National Planning Policy Framework addresses many of the obstacles within the current planning system and he described the new build mortgage indemnity scheme backed by Government as “innovative”.
But although the he hailed the localism agenda and the government’s plan for growth he emphasised that the red tape, regulation and bureaucracy of the planning system remained a significant problem for the industry.
“Without addressing this issue, I fear planning on a large scale will become the sole preserve of the strongest and most financially secure developers which will be detrimental to the desire to increase supply and competition to stimulate economic growth,” he said.