Water chief to retire


John Cuthbert, Northumbrian Water’s Managing Director, has decided to retire in March 2010 at the end of the company’s financial year, it is announced today.

He will leave the company and the water industry after almost 20 years at the forefront of the water sector.

Under his guidance, Northumbrian Water has just been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Sustainable Development and also been named Utility Company of the Year. 

John Cuthbert joined the water industry from North Eastern Co-operative in 1991 and was appointed Managing Director of North East Water in 1993 following the merger of Newcastle and Gateshead Water and Sunderland and South Shields Water companies.

When the French group, Lyonnaise des Eaux, bought Northumbrian Water in 1995, he transferred within the Group to become Managing Director of Essex & Suffolk Water.

He returned to the North East as Managing Director of Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) in 2001 and continued in this role when the company returned to the stock market as an independent company in 2003 after its sale by the French group.

NWG’s Chairman, Sir Derek Wanless, said: “John has made an outstanding contribution to both the water industry and Northumbrian Water over almost 20 years during which he has led four price reviews.  The Board fully understands and appreciates his decision to step down in March 2010 following completion of the current review.

“The Board accepts John’s decision, the timing of which enables the Board to conduct a thorough recruitment exercise with a view to the timely appointment of his successor,”  said Sir Derek.

John Cuthbert said: “It has been a great privilege to have the opportunity to lead Northumbrian Water through the challenges of recent years.  I believe the Company is very well positioned for the future and my successor will have the support of an exceptionally able and committed senior management team.”

As well as Northumbrian Water, John, who is a Deputy Lieutenant in Durham, is actively involved in many other parts of the North East community.

He is Chairman of the Northern Business Forum, the Kielder Partnership and the Castle View Enterprise Academy in Sunderland where Northumbrian Water is the lead sponsor.

John is also Vice Chair of the Durham University Council and a member of the CBI Regional Council.

Previously he has chaired the water industry trade organisation WaterUK, Business in the Community’s Regional Leadership Team and the Regional Skills Partnership as well as being committed to many other organisations supporting the region.

His charity work sees him playing guitar with other members of the business community in the band, 55 Degrees, to help raise funds at numerous events around the region.

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