Bristol Water’s chief financial officer resigns

Mick Axtell has a 12-month notice period but is looking for his "next opportunity"

Mick Axtell, has resigned as chief financial officer (CFO) at Bristol Water and is looking for his “next opportunity”, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In a statement on the professional networking site, he said: “Whilst I love the people, the company and the industry, I have decided that it is time for me to look for the next challenge.”

Axtell said his contractual terms require a 12-month notice period and he has resigned to be able to have “realistic conversations” about a future role.

He added: “I am open to any ideas or suggestions of opportunities. I have a strong background in senior financial management, but also have wider experience in general management, troubleshooting and managing change.”

Axtell joined Bristol Water in September 2013 as deputy finance director.

He was appointed finance director in January 2014 and joined the company’s board in the same month.

He took on his current role of CFO in November 2015 and manages the corporate services directorate, which the company says is at the “hub of” Bristol Water.

It provides a dual role, offering business support and an independent review, helping the business achieve its “vision and strategic objectives".

Prior to joining Bristol Water, Axtell held senior finance roles at German energy firm RWE.

Last year he was tipped as the most likely internal contender to become Bristol Water’s chief executive before Mel Karam’s appointment was announced in December 2016. Karam took over from Luis Garcia on 1 April, this year.

A spokesperson for Bristol Water, said: “As noted, Mick will remain in position for the next 12 months, and it will be ‘business as usual’ for Mick and Bristol Water during this incredibly important time for the sector. We will announce our plans to recruit for this role in due course.”

Ofwat recently named Bristol Water as one of five water companies which have failed to deliver long-term plans to prove they are financially resilient.

The regulator said the company had only looked forward “as far as the end of the current control period”. It warned looking ahead to 2020 “doesn’t qualify as long-term planning”.

Responding to Ofwat’s report, a spokesperson for Bristol Water, said: “Our annual report 2016/17 includes a clear statement that we have looked beyond the current control period: ‘The directors have performed a detailed assessment of Bristol Water’s viability over a three-year period to March 2020 and have also considered viability over a five-year period and into the long term’.”

They added: “We believe this statement adequately represents our view of long-term viability with the level of detail and transparency our customers would want to see. We plan to seek feedback from our customers and stakeholders, including Ofwat, and we will provide additional detail in the future if needed.”

Last month, Bristol Water appointed Iain McGuffog as director of strategy and regulation to oversee the company’s long-term strategy and its PR19 business plan. 

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