Ofwat has appointed Rachel Fletcher as its new chief executive to take over from Cathryn Ross who will depart for BT in the New Year.

Fletcher will join the water regulator from Ofgem where she is senior partner for consumers and competition and sits on the Ofgem board.

Having joined the electricity and gas regulator in 2005, she has also held the role of partner for distribution, in which she led the electricity price control review and introduced the Low Carbon Network Fund.

Prior to working for Ofgem, Fletcher worked as a consultant advising public and private sector organisations around the world on energy strategy and policy.

Announcing the appointment today (12 December), Jonson Cox, chairman of Ofwat, said: “This is such an exciting time for Ofwat and that was reflected in the strength of the candidates who applied to be our new chief executive.

“Rachel’s impressive track record and experience in regulation of network and customer focused businesses, alongside her clear leadership qualities, make her an ideal chief executive for Ofwat.

“Rachel will complement the team leading the upcoming price review and she will take Ofwat forward to the next phase of its evolution beyond 2020. I am really looking forward to working with her as we push the water sector to deliver more of what matters for customers.”

Fletcher will join Ofwat on 8 January, while Ross’ formal last day with the regulator will be 19 January.

Cox added: “I would also like to express my appreciation to David Gray and Dermot Nolan at Ofgem for allowing Rachel to join us so promptly.”

Fletcher said: “Ofwat has set a high ambition for what the sector should deliver for customers, and meeting this challenge is what makes the role so exciting.  With the upcoming price review, new business retail market and ongoing requirement for the sector to secure the trust and confidence of customers – there is lots to do.  I look forward to building on the work done so far and working with the Ofwat team to make a positive and lasting difference for customers.”

Ofwat will be publishing its methodology for the next price review, PR19, tomorrow (13 December).