Owner of under fire South West Water appoints new chair

The under fire owner of South West Water and Bristol Water has announced a new chair.

Pennon Group has announced the appointment of David Sproul as chair designate.

Like other utility companies Pennon has been heavily criticised for its poor performance, the level of money paid to directors and incidents where sewage has been pumped into the sea.

One MP recently described the company bosses as incompetent after residents in North Devon were warned not to drink their water.

It latter emerged water supplies in the area had been contaminated leading to an outbreak of illness.

David Sproul will join the board as a non-executive director. Gill Rider will retire from the board post the Annual General Meeting on 24 July 2024, after which David will assume the role of Chair.

Gill Rider, Chair, said: “I am honoured to have worked alongside such a talented board over many years at Pennon. I am delighted that David will be joining the group and will succeed me as chair. I wish him, Pennon and especially all our dedicated colleagues every success for the future.”

David Sproul said: “It is a privilege to have been invited to take on the role as chair at a pivotal point in Pennon’s strategy, and ongoing commitment to the UK Water industry. There has never been a more important time to make a positive contribution to the sector and society. What Pennon does for customer, communities and the environment really matters.”

David is a Chartered Accountant who has spent most of his career in professional services at Deloitte including Global Deputy chief executive from 2019 to 2021.

In late 2021 David became chair of Starling Bank Ltd; the UK’s leading digital bank. He also serves as a non-executive director at Safanad Limited, a privately held asset manager and is a senior adviser to Bridgepoint Europe.

He also sits on the board of governors as chair designate of University of Hertfordshire.

David’s fee will be £250,000 per year in line with the fee paid to the outgoing chair.


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