Business Stream has announced that Jim Spowart, who created and led several of the UK’s first challenger banks, will join the company as a non-executive director.
Spowart was founder and chief executive of Direct Line Financial Services, Standard Life Bank and Intelligent Finance, and brings a wealth of relevant experience to Business Stream, as it prepares to compete in a new £2.5 billion English water retail market from Monday.
Since retiring from Intelligent Finance in 2002, Spowart has served on many company boards and has been involved in a variety of consultancy projects in Europe and the US.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University for his services to banking and the economic development of the central belt of Scotland.
Commenting on his appointment, Spowart said: “I am thrilled to be joining the board of Business Stream. Undoubtedly this will be a critical year for the company, as it looks to win a major slice of the new English water market.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for the water industry as a whole and I’m looking forward to playing my part in Business Stream’s continued growth across the whole of the UK.”
Business Stream chair Susan Rice said: “Jim Spowart is well known for his achievements and innovations in the world of banking, where he challenged the status quo, utilising innovative technology to capture a sizeable slice of the mortgage and current account markets. He also has extensive knowledge of the water sector and significant board experience.
“His expertise will be extremely valuable to Business Stream as we seek to grow our market share. I am delighted to welcome Jim to the board as we make final preparations for the market opening in England.”
Spowart will step down from the board of Scottish Water on 31 March, after completing two consecutive terms as a non-executive director. He will join the Business Stream board effective from 1 April.
Business Stream is aiming to capture a sizeable share in the English market when it opens to competition on 1 April. Around 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England will be able to choose their water supplier, currently an option only available to the largest users.
Business Stream is set to be the third-biggest operator in the combined Anglo-Scottish market, following the acquisition of the non-household customer base of Southern Water last summer. The company also opened a new office in Worthing last year.