Liz Barber to retire as Yorkshire Water CEO - Nicola Shaw appointed successor

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Yorkshire Water announces today (April 7) that after nearly 12 years with the company, nine as CFO and close to three years as CEO, Liz Barber is to retire with effect from May 6.

Nicola Shaw, most recently UK executive director for National Grid, has been appointed as CEO to succeed Liz and joins the company on May 9. She was previously CEO of High Speed 1 and a director of First Group and is currently a non-executive director of International Airlines Group.

Liz first joined Yorkshire Water in November 2010 as group director of finance and regulation, having previously been a senior partner at Ernst & Young where she led the firm’s national water team. She later became CFO and was appointed CEO in September 2019.

Commenting, Yorkshire Water chair Vanda Murray, said: “Liz has made a huge contribution to the company in both her leadership roles.  As CFO, she did a great deal to improve financial resilience and also set the pace for increased transparency in the water sector. Her time as CEO has led us through the global pandemic and dealt very effectively with the challenges this caused for both our staff and customers. During this period the business was also hit by at least six named storm events and Liz’s leadership ensured that we remained resilient throughout.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank her for all she has done and wish her well for the future.”

She added: “We are delighted to be able to appoint Nicola Shaw as CEO. She brings extensive experience in regulated infrastructure businesses with a high public profile and has an excellent track record in driving efficient delivery whilst also improving customer service and staff engagement. She recognises the importance of environmental performance and the criticality of climate resilience and adaptation.”

Commenting on the new role, Nicola Shaw said: “I am delighted to be joining Yorkshire Water and the great people who work there delivering water and wastewater services to the county day in and day out. I recognise the importance of the service Yorkshire Water provides to the communities we serve and look forward to delivering for them and becoming part of the community in Yorkshire.”

Liz Barber said: “I have had nearly 12 great years at Yorkshire Water and it has been a privilege to be play a part in providing an essential service by an organisation which is a part of the fabric of Yorkshire.  I am particularly proud of what we have done to ensure that the organisation has sustainability at its heart and is resilient, both financially and operationally.

“My colleagues, on the board, in the leadership team and throughout the company have been a huge support throughout my time at the company and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with them.”