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Media Centre Latest News Glas Cymru co- founder to retire as CEO

Glas Cymru co- founder, Chris Jones, to retire as CEO and Pete Perry announced as successor


Chris Jones, the Chief Executive of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and a founder of the Glas Cymru not-for-profit ownership model, has decided to retire from the company at the end of March 2020, having served as a director of Welsh Water for nearly 25 years.

Alastair Lyons, Chair of the Glas Board, also announced that Peter Perry, currently Managing Director at Welsh Water, will take over as Chief Executive from 1st April 2020 having first joined the company as an apprentice.

In 2000, Chris, together with Nigel Annett, established Glas Cymru as a unique “not-for-profit” company with the sole purpose of acquiring Welsh Water. The following year Glas successfully acquired Welsh Water from Western Power Distribution after raising £1.9 billion in long-term bonds – at the time the largest-ever sterling bond issue.

Glas’ not-for-profit ownership model is unique in the water sector, any financial surplus being applied to benefit customers, in particular to invest in services and provide financial support for those who are struggling to pay their water bill.

In a message to colleagues at Welsh Water this morning, Chris Jones said,
After a lot of thought, I have decided that it will be the right time for me to retire as Chief Executive at the end of this financial year to pursue other interests. Whilst such a decision is never easy, I think this will also be the right time for the business, coming at the start of the next five-year regulatory period and with strong succession plans in place.

“I am proud of what we have achieved since Nigel Annett and I first launched our unique, not-for-profit company back in April 2000. We have created a clear corporate purpose and vision, with a strong and well-embedded culture of customer-led success. To date, customers have benefitted to the tune of around £450 million – money that in other companies would have gone to shareholders.

“I would like to give my most sincere thanks to all my colleagues for the great support that they have given me over the last six years. I am sure that the business will continue to do an even better job for its customers in the future, given the highly skilled and very committed people who work for Welsh Water. This could not have been better demonstrated than in the heroic response of my colleagues in the face of the unprecedented weather challenges throughout 2018 to maintain service to customers and to protect our environment.”

Alastair Lyons, Chair of the Glas Board, commented:
“Few people can justifiably claim to have been instrumental in forging a unique business model and a culture that inspires those who work with, and are customers of the business. Glas owes Chris a great debt and he can be rightly proud to be Chief Executive of a company that has amongst the very highest levels of customer satisfaction and perception of value for money.

“We are equally extremely fortunate to have someone of Pete Perry’s experience and capability to succeed Chris when he retires next April. As Chief Operating Officer and latterly Managing Director Pete has worked alongside Chris whilst he was Chief Executive enabling a seamless transition to take place ahead of our beginning AMP7, the next phase of our journey to deliver our Welsh Water 2050 vision”

Pete Perry, will take over as Chief Executive on 1 April 2020, having been Managing Director since 2017, Chief Operating Officer since 2013 and Operations Director since 2006. Peter has a civil engineering background and was formerly the Chief Operating Officer for United Utilities Operational Services (UUOS ). Prior to joining UUOS he worked for Welsh Water for over 20 years.

Speaking about his appointment, Pete said,
“I am absolutely honoured to be taking on the role. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to build on Chris’ excellent work as CEO. We have a great team of people in the organisation and I look forward to leading the business to achieve our main priorities of further improving service to our customers and protecting the environment. With our unique ‘not for shareholder’ structure which creates a business ethos entirely focused on serving our customers and communities, we are well placed to face up to the big challenges of the future such as climate change and meeting the increasing expectations of our customers.”

Since it became a not-for-profit company, Welsh Water has successfully:

  • Regularly been the most trusted water company in England and Wales by its customers (according to independent research by CCWater),
  • Kept price increases below the rate of inflation in every year since 2010, with average bills today being lower in real terms than in 2001
  • Reduced its carbon emissions by almost 80% since 2010
  • Reduced leakage by a third since 2001
  • Increased the number of customers receiving financial support with their bills to 120,000, far more than any other water company
  • Invested over £400m of financial surplus generated since 2001 to improve services, support financially vulnerable customers and keep bills lower than they otherwise would have been
  • Maintained the highest credit rating of all UK utility companies
  • Secured Investor in People Gold
  • Created a customer-led culture with it latest employee engagement survey showing 90% of Welsh Water employees “believe in Welsh Water and what it stands for” and 93% believe that “Welsh Water puts customer first”
  • Reduced reportable injuries (RIDDORs) by two thirds since 2010
  • Reached over 500,000 children through its education programme since 2001

Welsh Water has recently submitted its business plan for 2020-2025 to the regulator, Ofwat, which sets out to deliver, if approved, both a £2.3 billion investment programme and a bill that would fall by over £20 in real terms by 2025.