Yorkshire Water chief to quit after 16 years at the helm

Yokshire Water tree planting at Bacup Road, Todorden. Yorkshire Water chief executive Richard Flint
Yokshire Water tree planting at Bacup Road, Todorden. Yorkshire Water chief executive Richard Flint

YORKSHIRE Water has announced that Richard Flint is to retire as its chief executive after a 16-year stint on the company’s board.

Mr Flint will step down as CEO from September 12, when he will be succeeded by Liz Barber, who is currently the company’s chief financial officer.

Anthony Rabin, the chairman of Yorkshire Water, said: “I would like to thank Richard for his exceptional leadership of the company over the last nine years and wish him the very best for the future.

“Richard has been pivotal in guiding the business through a period of very significant change during his tenure and leaves the company well prepared to deliver in the future. I would also like to particularly thank Richard for his assistance in ensuring a smooth transition to his successor.

“I am delighted that Liz has agreed to take over as CEO, following an open recruitment process through which Liz was the outstanding candidate. She has already made a major contribution to the company in her current role and most recently has led the company’s long-term strategy development and its business transformation programme.

“She has also been central to Yorkshire Water’s work to make our finances more transparent by, for example, the removal of our previous offshore structures.”

Mr Flint has been with the company since 1992 and first joined the board in 2003 as director of the water business unit. He was appointed as chief operating officer in 2008 and became chief executive in 2010.

Ms Barber has been the company’s chief financial officer since 2010, having joined the company from Ernst & Young, where she held a number of senior partner roles.

She is a lay member and trustee of the University of Leeds and is a non-executive director and chair of the audit committee at KCOM Group PLC. Ms Barber is also a member of HRH Prince Charles’ Accounting for Sustainability network of CFOs, which she chaired for two years.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr Flint said “As the end of my second five-year price cycle as group CEO comes to a close, I believe now is the right time in the regulatory calendar to step down. It’s been a huge honour to serve as CEO for nearly 10 years and after 27 years with the company I wish all our great colleagues, board members and customers the very best for the future.”

Liz Barber said: “It’s a great privilege to be given the job of leading Yorkshire Water. We have an excellent business plan for the next five years and we need to ensure it delivers all it can for our customers and the environment.

“We have a major part to play in responding to climate change, both by reducing our own carbon impact, and also in changing our operations to deal with its consequences.

“We are central to the fabric of Yorkshire and I am committed to ensuring that we play a full part to contribute to the inclusive growth of the county.”

Last year, Mr Flint admitted his industry must “show new standards of public accountability” after a senior Minister warned major utilities firms they must clean up their act or face tougher regulation.

Richard Flint described the speech by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who told company bosses they have not been acting “in the public interest”, as a “wake-up call for the sector”.