Affinity Water’s chief executive Pauline Walsh has stepped down from the company after three years in the role with immediate effect.

Meanwhile the company has said it will potentially make redundancies due to its stretching performance commitments and financial pressures of Covid-19.

Stuart Ledger, currently chief financial officer, has been appointed interim chief executive while the board finds a successor.

Ian Tyler, who was named chair of the company in January, said: “I would like to thank Pauline for her service over the last three years which has seen Affinity through a change of ownership and transition to AMP7. The board would like to take this opportunity to thank Pauline for her contribution and involvement and wish her well for the future. I am very pleased that Stuart will step up to the interim CEO role.  Stuart has substantial operational experience across the water sector and his experience will provide additional balance and industry insight to our board, steering the organisation through this crucial transition period.”

During her tenure Walsh established priorities for future investment and initiated improvements to both operations and cultural change across the business.

Ledger has been with Affinity since October 2017 when he joined from Thames where he was chief financial officer of the water retail division.

Redundancies are expected to be made across the business. The company said 56 roles will potentially be lost, however a source told Utility Week more than 100 staff were likely to be impacted.

A spokesperson said: “The stretching targets to deliver for our customers and communities combined with the financial impacts of Covid-19 has meant that we have to make some really tough choices to drive the performance of the business to meet these commitments.

“No decision has been taken at this stage and we are working closely with the Unions and listening to our colleagues to look at ways we can avoid or minimise the need for redundancies for some roles.”

Despite lowering leakage by c.10 million litres in the first year of AMP7, the company failed to meet its target set by Ofwat.