Our Executive team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the business and is made up of the Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and functional directors.
Sarah Bentley - CEO
Chief Executive Officer - Thames Water Utilities Limited
Appointed: September 2020
- Multi-disciplinary executive with extensive water industry experience, strong operational leadership of large service-oriented workforces and track record of developing strategy and delivering transformational change.
- Relentless customer focus, deep expertise in digital technology and passionate about delivering results through the creation of diverse and high performing teams.
Sarah joined Thames Water as Chief Executive Officer in September 2020. Previously, Sarah was on the Executive Committee at Severn Trent plc where she was appointed as Chief Customer Officer in 2014, leading the Consumer Retail, Wholesale Network Operations, Group Technology and Transformation divisions. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Lloyds Bank plc and Bank of Scotland plc.
Before Severn Trent, Sarah was the managing partner for Accenture’s digital business unit in the UK & Ireland delivering digital transformation programs to a range of large UK consumer-facing businesses and was a member of the Accenture UK & Ireland Executive Committee. Prior to Accenture, Sarah worked internationally in a number of roles including strategy, marketing and propositions for BT’s Global Services division, CEO of Datapoint, an Alchemy-backed company delivering customer relationship management (CRM) services throughout Europe, and senior vice president of eLoyalty, a global CRM and marketing consultancy. She was SVP of the European business, led the sales and operations activity in North America and ran eLoyalty Ventures L.L.C. working in Silicon Valley, Austin and New York.
Sarah graduated from the University of Kent with a first-class honours degree in Management Science and Computing (BSc Hons) and is married with five children.
Brandon Rennet - CFO
Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer - Thames Water Utilities Limited
Appointed: March 2017
- Strong expertise in leading the execution of multi-billion-pound funding, primarily in the public debt capital markets and creating sustainable financing structures to support corporate sustainability aims
- Valuable utility experience combined with public policy exposure.
Brandon brings substantial financial leadership success to his role as Chief Financial Officer having spent three years of a ten-year tenure as Managing Director of Finance at regulated energy company, SSE Plc. While in post he led the execution of more than £7 billion of funding and initiated a finance transformation programme.
Cathryn Ross - Strategy and Regulatory Affairs Director
Appointed: June 2021
- 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.
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.
George Mayhew - Corporate Affairs Director
Appointed: August 2019
- Significant experience in corporate affairs.
- Proven background in stakeholder and government relations for organisations across a range of sectors.
Before joining Thames, George was Group Corporate Affairs Director at National Grid, where he was responsible for the company’s reputation and stakeholder management strategy. His role included policy development, government and media relations, employee communications, corporate responsibility and brand.
Prior to this, George was Chief of Staff to the CEO of BAE Systems for four years and previously held various government relations roles at MBDA Missile Systems, Centrica and Granada TV.
Lynne Graham - People Director
Appointed: January 2020
- Experience in designing and delivering complex cultural and organisational change programmes.
- Skilled in leadership development; MSc in Coaching and Behaviour Change.
Lynne is accountable for the HR function, covering the entire employee life cycle including talent attraction and selection, reward and benefits, payroll and administration, learning and development, employee relations and organisational development.
She has led major change programmes that have delivered significant value through cost reduction and through productivity improvements by driving an engaged culture.
Prior to Thames Water she has operated at Executive and Main Board level in diverse sectors – Eurostar (rail); British Gas (gas utility); Westbury Street Holdings (hospitality); Yodel (logistics).
Nevil Muncaster - Strategic Resources 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 30yrs 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.
Steve Spencer - Operations Director
Appointed: April 2017
- Significant experience of the water industry over 25 years.
- Proven track record of improving performance and delivering strong operational results.
Steve oversees the efficient running of water and wastewater operations. He is responsible for delivering high quality drinking water and reducing leakage, alongside safely processing wastewater, transforming it into renewable power and returning clean water to our rivers.
His career has been dedicated to the water sector. Not only has he held senior leadership positions across Thames Water, he has also worked at Southern Water and MWH Australia.
Tony Vasishta - CEO of Ventures
Appointed: June 2021
- Extensive property and commercial experience, in the UK and internationally across a variety of asset classes.
- Proven background leading functions and companies with senior roles at Tesco, Boots, Circle Health, TJX and Woolworths.
- Regular contributor to the industry media and speaker at a number of real estate, retail and commercial conferences both in the UK and internationally.
Tony joined from Liberty Global where he was the Managing Director Global Real Estate and the CEO of Liberty Property Co. the wholly owned technical real estate vehicle of Liberty Global. Liberty Global is the world’s largest international TV and broadband company. With approximately 4,000 properties across Europe and an annual budget of $600 million,
Tony oversaw the real estate, facilities management, fleet and energy functions of the Liberty Global group of companies and led LG’s global real estate team. As well as being a founding member and leader of the Property Company, Tony also led the creation of Liberty’s EV charging company.
He joined Liberty Global from Starbucks, where he led the real estate, strategy, design and asset management function for the EMEA region based in Amsterdam.
Tony is a master’s graduate and attended South Bank University, Oxford University and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, California.
Outside of work, Tony is a keen walker and fitness enthusiast. He enjoys sailing, gardening and playing the guitar badly.
Warren Buckley - Retail Director
Appointed: March 2021
- Extensive experience in leading customer service and sales transformation across multiple industry sectors including Telecoms and Financial Services
- Over 30 years of people leadership and cultural change to create truly customer focussed teams including frontline experience having started as a call centre agent
- Proven background of integrating human and technology in delivering seamless digital and non-digital channels
Warren joins Thames Water from HSBC plc where he was responsible for the onshore and offshore contact centres for its Retail and Wealth business, including customer experience transformation and sales and service performance. Warren led a team of 27,000 colleagues globally for HSBC as their Managing Director and Global Head of Channel Optimisation and Contact Centres.
Prior to HSBC, Warren held several positions at BT including Managing Director of Customer Service and Operations at BT Retail, and Managing Director of Service Management at Openreach, having previously held customer service, experience and operational leadership roles at Orange, Avaya, Lucent Technologies and Vodafone.
Warren is also the Chair of Citizens Advice, a position he took up in 2018 having served as a trustee since 2012.