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Governance

Our corporate governance

Our Board

The Thames Water Utilities Limited Board comprises of the Chairman, two Executive Director (the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer) and nine Non-Executive Directors, five of whom are independent.

Our Executive team

Thames Water's Executive Team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the business and is made up of the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and seven functional directors.

Our Governance

The Board is accountable and responsible for the delivery of its business and is committed to being open and transparent in delivery of the highest standards of corporate governance.

Ownership Structure

The ownership of Thames Water and those group companies that connect Kemble Water Holdings Limited, our ultimate parent company, to the regulated company, Thames Water Utilities Limited.

Our Board

The Thames Water Utilities Limited Board is made up of the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and nine Non-Executive Directors, five of whom are independent.

Between the Directors, there is a wealth of management and financial experience, together with extensive specialist knowledge of the water industry and other regulated utilities.

Both our Board and Ofwat consider five of the Directors to be Independent Non-Executives, forming the largest single group on the Board.

Ian Marchant

Chairman - Thames Water Utilities Limited

Appointed: December 2017
Appointed as Chairman: January 2018
Appointed as Interim Executive Chairman: May 2019

Relevant skills:

  • Highly experienced Chairman, CEO and Non-Executive Director with a focus on the utilities sector.
  • Expertise in governance, finance, regulation, renewable energy and climate change mitigation.


Relevant experience:
During his ten years as CEO of SSE plc, as part of a 21-year tenure at the energy company, Ian led transformational change, performance improvements and the development of renewables. He is currently Independent Chairman of energy services firm, John Wood Group plc, Chair of Nova Innovation Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of Aggreko plc. Through his company Dunelm Energy Limited, Ian advises and invests in start-up businesses.

He is the former Chairman and founder of the Scotland 2020 Climate Group and served as the President of the Energy Institute and Chairman of the renewable energy firm, Infinis. Ian is the founder of Scotland’s ‘Lights up Malawi’ campaign for Climate Justice and was recently appointed Honorary President of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Sarah Bentley

Chief Executive Officer -  Thames Water Utilities Limited

Appointed: September 2020

Relevant skills:

  • 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.

Relevant experience:
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

Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer - Thames Water Utilities Limited

Appointed: March 2017

Relevant skills:

  • 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.

Relevant experience:
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.

Our Independent Non-Executive Directors

Nick Land

Deputy Chairman/Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointed: February 2017

Relevant skills:

  • Significant experience on the Boards of leading, global companies.
  • A highly experienced Chartered Accountant, with global financial and governance experience spanning more than three decades.

Relevant experience:
Nick brings a wealth of multi-sector finance and governance experience following ten years as Chairman of Ernst & Young as part of his 36-year career at one of the world’s largest accounting firms. He was also a member of the Global Executive Board. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Financial Reporting Council and Chairs the Private Equity Reporting Group of the British Venture Capital Association. He is also Chairman of the Board of trustees of the Vodafone Group Foundation.

This follows a long history of Non-Executive Director roles at global companies such as Vodafone Group, Alliance Boots GmbH and Royal Dutch Shell.

Catherine Lynn

Appointed: November 2018

Relevant skills:

  • Expertise in strategic business management within a regulated, highly dynamic environment.
  • Proven success embedding customer needs at the heart of business decision making in a large scale, complex organisation serving millions of customers.

Relevant experience:
Catherine brings a wealth of commercial, operational, strategic and senior management experience having played a leadership role in Europe’s low-cost aviation sector for 20 years, with a focus on delivering outstanding customer service. She is the former Group Commercial Director of easyJet, where she was directly responsible for several major initiatives underpinning easyJet’s successful exponential growth.

She was also part of the start-up team for British Airways’ budget carrier Go Fly, as founding Head of Customer Services, and has ten years’ experience as a Non-Executive Director.

Ian Pearson

Appointed: September 2014

Relevant skills:

  • Experienced Company Chairman, Non-Executive Director and adviser, with expertise in strategic orientation and value creation.
  • Wealth of experience in the development of public policy relating to climate change and the environment.

Relevant experience:
Ian brings extensive business and public sector insight to the Board. During a distinguished Ministerial career from 2001-2010 he held a number of positions, including Minister for Trade & Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Climate Change and the Environment, Minister for Science, and Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

He spent five years as the Chairman of AIM listed OVCT2, a company which invested in a variety of renewable energy companies. He is also Chairman of Code Investing Ltd, a Senior Advisor to BAI Communications plc and has previously been a member of the UK Advisory Board of PwC.

Jill Shedden MBE

Appointed: October 2018

Relevant skills:

  • 30 years directing people strategies within a regulated utility.
  • Expertise in leading successful transformation programmes and driving the diversity and inclusion agenda.

Relevant experience:
Jill is currently Group HR Director of Centrica Plc after holding senior HR positions across the Centrica group. She has championed diversity and inclusion throughout her career and has focused on building a high performing environment and a great place to work. In her role at Centrica, she has led major culture change, cost reduction and reorganisation programmes, as well as achieving “Best Companies” and “Great Places to Work” awards.

Jill was awarded an MBE for her work with the Women’s Business Council, a group set up to advise ministers how to maximise women’s contribution to the future economic growth of the country.

David Waboso CBE

Appointed: February 2019

Relevant skills:

  • A highly experienced Chartered engineer and project manager, leading major infrastructure projects both in the UK and internationally.
  • Expertise in maximising the potential of digital technology and digitised assets to increase capability, connectivity and reliability.

Relevant experience:
David brings decades of experience leading capital investment and digital transformation projects. After an early career in highways and water supply, he worked on major infrastructure upgrades including the Docklands Light Railway and Jubilee Line Extension. He has held senior positions at London Underground, as well as being the UK representative for the European Rail Agency and a Non-Executive Director of the Rail Safety and Standards Board.

He was awarded a CBE for services to transport in London and has been the President of the Association of Project Management since 2015. Until March 2019 he was Managing Director, Digital Railway at Network Rail.

Non-Executive Directors

Paul Donovan

Appointed: July 2019

Relevant skills:

  • Expertise in leading successful transformation programmes.
  • Keen interest in promoting social responsibility and is a Trustee of the Oxfordshire Community Foundation as well as a co-founder of Our Common Good UK, a social impact accelerator.

Relevant experience:
Paul brings extensive senior executive experience to the Board, most recently as CEO of Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group and, before that, CEO of Eir, Ireland’s leading telecommunications provider. He has held senior roles at well-known customer-focused companies such as Vodafone, where he was a member of the Group’s Executive Committee, as well as at Apple, Cable and Wireless, Coca-Cola, Mars and BT

Paul is an independent consultant and early stage investor in the media telecommunications and fintech sectors and a non-executive director of Arqiva Group - a leading provider of critical national infrastructure. He is a Doctor of the University of Bradford.

Michael McNicholas

Appointed: July 2019

Represents the interests of investor, OMERS Infrastructure

Relevant skills:

  • Chartered Engineer with a wealth of management experience.
  • Expertise in Asset Management internationally.

Relevant experience:
Michael is currently Managing Director, Asset Management at OMERS Infrastructure, with a focus on Europe. His asset management experience currently focuses on regulated utilities and includes Scotia Gas Networks, Caruna and Ellevio.

Michael previously held the position of Group CEO of Ervia, with responsibility for Ireland’s National Gas Networks and its national Water Utility. Prior to that he was Group CEO of NTR Plc., an infrastructure investment company with a focus on renewable and sustainable infrastructure. He was also an Executive Director in ESB, Irelands national electricity utility, where he held responsibility for Generation & Wholesale Markets, Customer Supply and latterly as Managing Director of ESB International.

John Morea

Appointed: January 2019

Represents the interests of investors, Infinity and CIC.

Relevant skills:

  • Expertise in driving efficiency and embedding innovation to deliver performance improvements, while maintaining priority focus on safety and customer service.
  • Strong track record in driving sustainability including promoting environmental protection and climate change mitigation.

Relevant experience:
With a 30 year career in the utility sector, including ten years as the first, and current, CEO of Scotia Gas Networks (SGN), John has successfully led the regulated utility through four price controls and secured its place as the UK energy industry’s leader for customer service. He has led the Company’s digital transformation to drive operational and cost efficiencies.

He has a personal interest in people development, including the diversity and inclusion agenda and promoting STEM subjects to young people. He is a current Director of the Energy Networks Association and past Non-Executive Director of Associated British Ports.

Greg Pestrak

Appointed: November 2017

Represents the interests of investor, Wren House.

Relevant skills:

  • Board level experience advising regulated and non-regulated global companies.
  • Expertise in delivering value creation programmes and bringing a constructively challenging perspective to business and operating models.

Relevant experience:
Greg brings a strong track record in asset management and over 18 years’ consulting expertise working with investors and corporates to drive performance improvements.

This included time at KPMG where he was the Partner leading on infrastructure. He is currently an Executive Vice President at Wren House Infrastructure, with a focus on Asset Management across the global portfolio.

Our Executive team

Our Executive team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the business and is made up of the Interim Executive Chairman and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as well as seven functional directors.

Sarah Bentley

Chief Executive Officer

Appointed: September 2020

See biography above.

Brandon Rennet

Chief Financial Officer

Appointed: March 2017

See biography above.

John Beaumont

Digital, Strategy and Transformation Director

Appointed: September 2017

Relevant skills:

  • Experience driving complex change in regulated companies.
  • Proven background using digital technology to create customer obsessed businesses.

Relevant experience:
John directs digital transformation and strategy with a focus on improving customer outcomes and reducing operating costs. He leads strategy development, IT, data analytics and the application of digital technologies across the business.

Prior to Thames Water he spent 12 years directing customer focused and operation-led transformations as a Partner at Bain & Company where he worked expansively in the digital and technology space across a variety of infrastructure-heavy industries. His early career was spent at Deloitte and PA Consulting.

John Bentley

Capital Delivery Director

Appointed: October 2019

Relevant skills:

  • Experience of developing and implementing different operating models and bringing together people from multiple organisations to deliver investment needs.
  • Shaped capital investment plans across three price reviews.

Relevant experience:
John is a chartered civil engineer and has 28yrs water industry experience working for Severn Trent Water. During this time, he managed £billion, complex capital investment programmes. As the Capital Delivery Director, John’s responsible for the safe and efficient delivery of AMP6 investment through the eight2O Alliance partners. He is leading the development of, and transition to, a new capital operating model which will secure more value for customers throughout AMP7.

Nicola Cocks

Regulation Director

Appointed: October 2019

Relevant skills:

  • Delivering high quality engagements, particularly focused on regulatory and economic analysis and project delivery.
  • Wealth of experience within the utilities sector.

Relevant experience:
Nicola has over fifteen years of utility regulation experience. This includes ten years at the energy regulator Ofgem, where her roles included acting as Project Manager for some of Ofgem’s most critical and high profile projects. She spent five years at KPMG, as Director of Power and Utilities. This included acting as a strategic advisor to a number of UK leading network companies on their price control reviews, in providing regulatory insight and assistance to companies facing compliance and/or enforcement action from their regulator and in undertaking agreed-upon-procedure reviews of companies’ regulatory reporting prior to submission.

Nicola was Head of Projects and Programmes at Ofgem, transforming the capability and effectiveness of the business in delivering projects that achieved most value for Ofgem and for consumers.

Lynne Graham

Human Resources Director

Appointed: January 2020

Relevant skills:

  • Experience in designing and delivering complex cultural and organisational change programmes.
  • Skilled in leadership development; MSc in Coaching and Behaviour Change.

Relevant experience:
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).

Kelly Macfarlane

Customer Experience Director

Appointed: January 2017

Relevant skills:

  • Demonstrable track record in customer experience transformation within complex, regulated businesses.
  • Strong leadership capability to deliver digitally-led, agile customer service operations focused on first-time issue resolution.

Relevant experience:
Kelly is responsible for all Thames Water customer interfaces and teams including residential metering, billing and service support, and Non-Household and Developer Service operations.

She previously held a number of senior operational roles at Openreach, the infrastructure division of BT Group and a variety of key regulatory, commercial and operational roles for companies including Deloitte Consulting, Tiscali and npower. Kelly is a Vice President of the Institute of Customer Service.

George Mayhew

Corporate Affairs Director

Appointed: August 2019

Relevant skills:

  • Significant experience in corporate affairs.
  • Proven background in stakeholder and government relations for organisations across a range of sectors.

Relevant experience:
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.

Steve Spencer

Operations Director

Appointed: April 2017

Relevant skills:

  • Significant experience of the water industry over 25 years.
  • Proven track record of improving performance and delivering strong operational results.

Relevant experience:
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.

Ownership

The chart below sets out the ownership of Thames Water and those group companies that connect Kemble Water Holdings Limited, our ultimate parent company, to the regulated company, Thames Water Utilities Limited.

Thames Water ownership structure

Our external shareholders

Who How much What they do When
Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System 31.777% One of Canada’s largest pension plans, with C$85 billion of net assets and global experience managing essential infrastructure 2017-2018
Universities Superannuation Scheme 10.939% A UK pension scheme for the academic staff of UK universities 2017
Infinity Investments SA 9.900% A subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds 2011
Wren House 8.772% A global direct infrastructure investment vehicle of the Kuwait Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds 2017
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation 8.706% An investment management services provider for British Columbia’s public sector 2006
Hermes GPE 8.669% One of Europe’s leading independent specialists in global private markets and manager of the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS), one of the largest UK pension schemes for the private sector 2012
China Investment Corporation 8.688% One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds 2012
Queensland Investment Corporation 5.352% A global diversified alternative investment firm and one of the largest institutional investment managers in Australia 2006
Aquila GP Inc. 4.995% A leading infrastructure management firm and a wholly owned subsidiary of Fiera Infrastructure Inc., a leading investor across all subsectors of the infrastructure asset class 2013
Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn 2.172% A pension fund service provider managing several different pension funds as well as affiliated employers and their employees 2006