Thames Water’s chairman of 12 years Sir Peter Mason is due to announce his departure from the board , according to reports in the Telegraph.
The anticipated announcement follows a number of service failures by Thames which led to heavy fines. Sources at the company have insisted Mason’s decision is not connected to these events, or to criticism from the regulator Ofwat.
Late last month, Ofwat chairman Jonson Cox urged Thames to improve its performance and, in a column for Utility Week, set out a challenging five-point plan for reform of the UK’s largest water company.
He his intervention followed the publication of Thames’s annual report, which confirmed a £100m dividend payment for shareholders at the same time as revealing the company missed its 2016/17 leakage reduction target by 47 million litres a day.
Ofwat announced it will conduct an investigation into the company’s performance on leakage in addition to issuing a “maximum penalty” of £8.6 million.
Responding to Cox’s demands, Thames released a brief statement claiming it was “fully aware” of Ofwat’s concerns and “working hard” to address them. However, in conversation with utility Week Thames chief executive Steve Robertson also said he would not be surprised to miss another leakage target before the end of the AMP.
Thames is in the throes of a “long-term recovery process,” he explained.