UK water regulator chief resigns under uncertainty

Uk water regulator Ofwat has announced that chief executive Regina Finn will be leaving in November...

The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat), which regulates the UK water industry, has made the shock announcement that its chief executive Regina Finn will be resigning, effective from November.

Little information was available in a statement from Ofwat but it said “the board and Regina Finn are both committed to a smooth transition and continuation of the Periodic Review process, and Ofwat’s wider regulatory duties”.

The Telegraph reported that Finn faced criticism from the water industry after spearheading “controversial proposals to change the way water utilities are regulated”.

The newspaper said: “Ofwat threatened to take companies that opposed the plans to the Competition Commission but backed down at the end of last year under the weight of opposition from industry. Companies warned the plans would increase risk for investors, leading to higher consumer bills.”

Finn has been in the position for six years and prior to Ofwat was a member of the Commission for Energy Regulation, working closely with Northern Ireland counterpart, Ofreg. She holds qualifications in Financial Information Systems from Trinity College in Dublin. Ofwat has now started the search for a replacement.

Finn said: “We have laid the foundations for a new model of regulation in which water companies have to listen to their customers and deliver a step-change in their performance. These changes will lead to long lasting improvements in the sector. With a new chairman now established and the strengthening of the Ofwat Board, this is the right time for me to move on.”

In January this year Utility Week reported that in a December 2012 staff survey of Ofwat, only 19% of its employees expressed confidence in the executive management team.

Jonson Cox became chairman of Ofwat last year. He said: “We recognise that Regina wishes to take her career forward in a different direction, and we look forward to working with her over the coming months in a smooth transition process.”

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