Anglian Water troubleshooter steps down as CEO for new role

THE man who is credited with having turned round the fortunes of the �1billion-a-year-plus Huntingdon-based Anglian Water Group has stepped down as chief executive after six years in the post. Jonson Cox, 53, has become the group s non-executive deputy ch

THE man who is credited with having turned round the fortunes of the �1billion-a-year-plus Huntingdon-based Anglian Water Group has stepped down as chief executive after six years in the post.

Jonson Cox, 53, has become the group's non-executive deputy chairman in a move that has been planned for some time.

The post of CEO has been dropped, and chief operating officer Peter Simpson has become managing director of Anglian Water Services.

The company has also announced that it has accepted regulator Ofwat's determination for the five years to March 2015, meaning an average saving of �28 to consumers and some scaling back of Anglian Water's investment plans by more than �250million to �2billion over the five years.

When Mr Cox, a former senior executive with Shell, Yorkshire Water and Railtrack, joined the company in 1994, it was operating in 22 countries across the world and had poor relationships with the regulator and the stock market.

It is now once again a successful regional water company, providing water and sewerage services across most of eastern England, and widely regarded as one of the top utility companies in the UK on a variety of different measures.

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Pointing out that his tenure as chief executive had been twice as long as the average for CEOs of large plcs, Mr Cox told The Hunts Post: "It has been a fantastic period leading Anglian Water for six years, and the success of the company is down to the 8,000 people who work in it.

"But it is time for me to create the headroom for others to lead the business and, as we move into a new five-year regulatory period, this is the time to do it. The non-executive r�le I'm taking on is part of a planned transition," he added.

Mr Cox said the decision to accept the regulator's determination, when AW wanted the opportunity to fund a higher level of investment, had been a very difficult one.

The company's five-year bid would have seen an average bill of around �390 a year rise by about �11 above inflation (about �2 a year).

That would have helped to fund investment in clean water and sewerage services for most of the 500,000 new homes to be built across Eastern England over the next decade or so, 75,000 of them in Cambridgeshire and 14,000 in Huntingdonshire by 2026.

Instead, the regulator told AW to cut bills by eight per cent by slashing investment in security of supplies, reducing progress on the already low level of mains leaks, saving money on maintenance and to some extent abandoning the work being done on customers' biggest fear and AW's priority - the distressing issue of sewage flooding.

AW chairman Sir Adrian Montague said: "Over the past six years, Jonson has led the group successfully through a period of significant transformation. Our position as a leader in the water industry is a credit to Jonson's vision and leadership. The focus of the group is now firmly on our core Anglian Water business, and I welcome Peter Simpson to his new role.

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