Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross has announced plans to overhaul the regulator’s senior management team, creating four new roles and losing two roles, in preparation for PR19.

Under the new structure, which is under consultation for the next month, the current posts of chief regulation officer, held by Sonia Brown, and senior director of finance and networks, held by Keith Mason, would be lost. Four new roles would be created in the senior leadership team: senior director of strategy and planning; senior director, Water 2020; senior director finance and governance; and senior director Thames Tideway.

Brown and Mason would have the option of applying for any of the newly created roles. Richard Khaldi would remain in post as senior director of customers and casework; Bev Messinger, currently senior director of operations would take on a new role as senior director of business improvement; Claire Forbes would remain senior director of corporate communications; and Elizabeth Hillman would remain general counsel.

In a note sent to all staff today, Ross said: “Strong, competent, committed strategic leadership from the top of the office is clearly imperative if we are to become the Ofwat we need to be, in relation to what we do, how we do it and who we are. It is important, therefore, that we consider the sort of Senior Leadership Team we need to provide this. This relates to the capacity of the team, the mix of skills and experience we need within it, and its structure.”

She said the new, flat structure of seven senior directors and a general counsel reporting in to her, would address shortages in the current structure relating to leadership capacity, strategic thinking, breadth and depth of understanding of economic regulation, management of risks and opportunities, and stake holder engagement.

Ross said the role of chief regulation officer had been created to answer a particular need in the run up to PR14, and that it now created an unnecessary hierarchy. She said: “Post-PR14, there is no set of responsibilities that would logically sit within a CRO role as distinct from senior directors.”

Ross added that the new role of senior director, Thames Tideway, would ensure management capacity on the high-profile programme. She suggested that it may not be needed long-term, beyond the next two years.

NB: Cathryn Ross will speak at Utility Week Congress 2015 on 14 October. She will address the future of water regulation including Ofwat’s plans to see frameworks evolve in order to incentivise better customer service. The event takes place in Birmingham. For full programme details go to: www.uw-congress.net



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