Our Executive Team develops and delivers our strategy and makes day-to-day financial, operational and regulatory decisions. You can read more about their roles and responsibilities in our Annual Report and Sustainability Report.
Alastair Cochran - Interim Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Appointed: July 2023
- Extensive financial experience in industry-leading capital-intensive businesses
- Proven track record of developing, leading and delivering value-creating strategies, including business transformations
Alastair was previously Chief Financial Officer of Petrofac, where he developed and led the sustainability, digital and Finance transformation initiatives, which focused on reinforcing the Group’s long-term cost competitiveness and delivering value for stakeholders through effective business partnerships. Prior to that, Alastair was at BG Group plc, where he was responsible for M&A, Treasury, Corporate Finance, Global Strategy and Business Development.
A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, he started his career with KPMG before enjoying a successful career in investment banking with Barclays de Zoete Wedd, Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley.
Cathryn Ross - Interim Co-Chief Executive Officer
Appointed: July 2023
- Experienced regulatory and competition economist.
- Proven background in advising on economic, regulatory and competition issues across a number of different sectors.
Cathryn was most recently Group Regulatory Affairs Director at BT Group, responsible for developing and implementing regulatory strategy. Previously, she was Chief Executive of Ofwat, where she successfully oversaw the delivery of a new strategy, focused on a vision for the sector of trust and confidence in water and wastewater services.
Prior to that, Cathryn was Executive Director of Markets and Economics at the Office of Rail Regulation (now the Office of Rail and Road), and Executive Director of Markets and Economics at Ofwat. She also served with the Competition Commission (now the Competition and Markets Authority) and has worked in economic consultancy.
In January 2020, Cathryn was appointed the inaugural Chair of the Regulatory Horizons Council, an independent committee established by BEIS, and she is also a Non-Executive Director of the Institute of Customer Service.
Caroline Sheridan - Engineering and Asset Director
Appointed: September 2021
- Formidable level of experience in Asset Management
- Creating long term systematic, sustainable strategies
Caroline has extensive experience in asset management within both the airport and railways industries and joins us from TfL where she originally held the position of Renewals and Enhancements Director before taking over and TfL engineering and asset strategy.
Caroline believes that people are at the heart of change and encourages collaboration by aligning everyone around a clear strategy as well as making the most of the experts in the business, she will be looking to raise the bar on how we better understand our assets.
Catherine Green - Director of HR
Appointed: August 2023
Catherine is a respected and influential HR leader and key part of our turnaround plan.
Focusing on transformation and change, her role will include:
- Directing the business and leadership effectiveness workstreams
- Simplification and removal of redundant time
- Driving positive behaviours
Catherine started at Thames in April 2021 and became Director of HR in August 2023.
Before Thames Water, Catherine worked as a senior executive for BP and Citigroup. She delivered a two-year HR modernisation programme for BP's biofuels business in Brazil. She also worked with DiDi to scale 200 electric vehicle charging sites across China.
Catherine enjoys seeing how big business affects local communities in a positive way. She's also part of the Energy Institutes HR subcommittee. With an interest in energy transition, she's one of many voices across the sector exploring sustainability.
Jon Haskins - Interim Strategy and Regulatory Affairs Director
Appointed: July 2023
- Degree in law and a masters in competition and regulation policy
- More than 20 years’ experience working in regulation and policy roles
Jon Haskins is Thames Water's Interim Strategy and Regulatory Affairs Director. He's covering for Cathryn Ross who is now the interim co-Chief Executive. Jon joined Thames Water in March 2022 as Director of Regulatory Delivery, Compliance and Reporting.
Jon has spent more than 20 years working in regulation and policy roles. He joined Thames Water from Network Rail where he held a range of positions, including Director, Periodic Review and Regulatory Compliance.
At Network Rail, Jon led the company’s strategic approach for agreeing funding and outputs for each control period. He also set the overarching regulatory compliance policy for Network Rail and led management of relationships with a range of external stakeholders. This included the Office of Rail and Road and the Department for Transport (DfT) on all matters of regulation.
In late 2018, Jon was seconded to the DfT to advise on the reform of the structure of the rail industry. This culminated in the publication of the “Williams Shapps Plan for Rail” White Paper in the Spring of 2021.
Before Network Rail, Jon worked for Orange Personal Communications Services for more than five years. Jon was part of their regulation and public policy team, advising on a range of matters. This included the 3G spectrum auctions and regulatory appeals to the Competition Appeals Tribunal on wholesale termination rates.
Francis Paonessa - Capital Delivery Director
Appointed: April 2021
- Strong track record of initiating and executing large and complex projects across a range of sectors.
- Broad range of engineering knowledge and experience, particularly in complex system integration and driving value for money.
Francis came to Thames Water from the business and strategy consultancy Aczel, where he advised clients on a number of high-profile projects in the defence and infrastructure sectors. Prior to this, he was the Managing Director of Infrastructure Projects at Network Rail, where he was accountable for delivering £25 billion of major renewal and enhancement infrastructure projects over the five-year regulatory period.
Before Network Rail, Francis spent four years at Bombardier, the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of rail vehicles, where he held a number of positions including the Managing Director of its UK business. His early career was at Vosper Thornycroft, the military shipbuilder, where he was latterly Technical Director and then Managing Director of the Portsmouth Shipbuilding Facility.
Esther Sharples - Operations Director, London
Appointed: September 2023
Wealth of experience in managing vast and complex infrastructure
Strong passion for making things better for customers
Esther has 20 years of experience managing infrastructure across a number of sectors including 16 years at Transport for London (TFL) and prior to that at Land Securities Trillium and the BBC.
During her time at TFL, Esther held positions as Director of Asset Operations and most recently Director of Asset Performance Delivery, where she was responsible for the maintenance and renewals of assets across the London Underground.
Nevil Muncaster -Strategic Partnerships Director
Appointed: September 2021
- Deep sector expertise
- Experienced leader and asset manager who is passionate about delivering sustainable infrastructure solutions
Nevil joins us with over 30 years' experience in the waste and water sector working with Veolia Water and latterly Yorkshire Water where he was Director of Asset Management and most recently Chief Strategy and Regulation Officer. He was also the Chair of Keyland Developments driving a focus on sustainable housing solutions.
Prior to this, Nevil held senior positions at Veolia Water including managing director of two of its UK water businesses.
James Bentley - Operations Director, Thames Valley and Home Counties
Appointed: October 2022
James has 30 years’ experience in infrastructure and community services, largely in the water sector.
He joined Thames Water in 1992 after completing his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University. He spent six years in operational roles in the UK including having responsibility for operations and maintenance of the major water treatment plants in Oxford and London.
He then set up the operational phase of the Izmit Water Supply Project in Turkey and looked after many of Thames Water’s businesses in Europe and the Middle East.
In 2004 James left Thames Water and moved to New Zealand where he spent three years as CEO of Metrowater Limited, the water and wastewater utility owned by Auckland City Council.
He also spent seven years in consultancy and academia, including Director of the Centre for Infrastructure Research at the University of Auckland.
In 2016, James moved to New South Wales, Australia to become Managing Director of Hunter Water Corporation, which provides water, wastewater and storm-water services to communities in Greater Newcastle.
In 2019, James was appointed CEO of the New South Wales (NSW) Water Sector on behalf of the Government of NSW. In this role he served the Minister for Water and led on policy and strategic direction for the water sector as well as overseeing regulatory, scientific and technical services in support of better water management outcomes.
James is passionate about the value of education and is Chairman of a New Zealand registered charity, Building for Education, which funds the building of schools and associated infrastructure in East Africa.
David Bird - Retail Director
- Demonstrable history of transforming business performance and changing culture in a wide range of markets
- Creating long-term sustainable growth through a focus on customers, building new propositions and re-engineering operations through the use of digital technologies
David’s early career was spent in a number of different service organisations including Marks & Spencer, BUPA, Vodafone, Homebase and National Express. He then spent over a decade in the retail energy industry where he was Managing Director of E.ON’s UK residential business and then CEO of Co-op Energy. More latterly he was Chief Operating Officer at Biffa, the UK’s leading waste management company.
He has also held non-executive director roles in the NHS, Department for Education and at the Independent Police Complaints Commission and is currently a Board Advisor to Aston University’s Centre for Circular Economy & Advanced Sustainability.