Our Board

The South West Water Board of Directors comprises the Chair (A Non-Executive Director), two Executive Directors, and four further Non-Executive Directors.

The Board considers the Non-Executive Directors to be independent in accordance with the UK Corporate Governance Code, as they are considered to have the appropriate skills, experience in their respective disciplines and personality to bring independent and objective judgment to the Board’s deliberations. Their biographies below demonstrate collectively a broad range of business, financial and other relevant experience.

There is a clear division of responsibilities between the roles of Chair and the Group Chief Executive as recorded in the descriptions of the roles approved by the Board. All Directors are subject to re-election each year.

On 1 April 2016, Bournemouth Water was integrated with South West Water under a single operating licence. Both identities have been retained by the company in their original operating areas and are governed by the same Board of Directors.



Gill Rider – Chair

Appointment Gill was appointed to the Board on 1 April 2016 and became Chair on 31 July 2020. She is also Chair of the Nomination Committee.

Skill and experience Gill was the senior independent director of Charles Taylor plc until its sale in January 2020.

Gill has a wealth of experience in leadership, governance and remuneration across a broad range of sectors including professional services, education not for profit and government.

Formerly, she was head of the Civil Service Capability Group in the Cabinet Office, reporting to the Cabinet Secretary and prior to that held a number of senior positions with Accenture LLP culminating in the post of chief leadership officer for the global firm. She was previously president of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and chair of the council of the University of Southampton.

External appointments Gill is currently a non-executive director of Intertek Group plc where she is also chairman of their remuneration committee. In addition to her PLC roles, Gill is also the President of the Marine Biological Association.


Susan Davy – Group Chief Executive Officer

Appointment Susan was appointed Chief Executive Officer on 31 July 2020, having served as Pennon’s Chief Financial Officer for the previous five years.

She is a member of the Environmental, Social and Governance Committee, Pennon Executive and the Pennon Board.

Skill and experience Susan was appointed to the Board as Chief Financial Officer in February 2015, having joined the Group as Finance Director of South West Water in 2007. Her knowledge of the industry, coupled with her financial and regulatory expertise, has underpinned the development of Pennon’s strategy which has included the value creating acquisition of Bournemouth Water in 2015 and the successful Viridor disposal process, both of which she has led.

In her 25 years’ experience in the utility sector, Susan has also held a number of other senior roles in the water sector, including at Yorkshire Water.

Under her guidance, South West Water is the only water company to have achieved fast-track status for two consecutive business plans – the first in 2014, the second in 2019.

Susan has extensive industry knowledge, and this coupled with her financial and regulatory expertise has supported the development of Pennon’s strategy.

Susan is highly respected in the City and the wider industry and has been instrumental in building Pennon’s strong reputation.

External appointments She is a Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair of Restore Plc, a member of the CBI President’s Committee, deputy Chair of the CBI South West, having served as Chair from 2018-2021, a Water UK Board member, member of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership Council and was previously a member of the A4S (Accounting for Sustainability) CFO leadership network.


Louise Rowe – Finance Director

Appointment South West Water Finance Director on 1 February 2015.

Skills and experience Louise has been with South West Water for over eight years, holding a range of managerial roles in the Finance Directorate prior to her appointment as Finance Director.

She is physics graduate and qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG.

She was recently appointed Non-executive Director for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

External appointments Louise is a member of the Water UK Finance Directors Forum and the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability’s Finance Culture Project. She was recently appointed Non-executive Director for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.



Jon Butterworth MBE – Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointment Jon was appointed to the Board on 28 September 2017. He is a member of the Audit, Remuneration, Nomination and Sustainability Committees. Jon is also the independent scrutineer of health and safety processes across the Group to help ensure that these are robust and effective.

Skills and experience Jon has a distinguished track record within the utility industry, having started his career over 40 years ago in British Gas as an apprentice technician and subsequently progressing through a variety of senior leadership roles spanning Construction, Asset Management, Regulation and Operations.  As the Managing Director of North West Gas and subsequently the National Operations Director in National Grid, Jon was accountable for the United Kingdom Gas Emergency Service, all construction and field operation before taking on the role of Global Director of Safety, Sustainability & Resilience. Jon is currently the Chief Executive Officer of National Grid Ventures (NGV) and a member of the National Grid Plc Executive committee, providing direction and leadership to a sizeable portfolio of gas and electricity assets, both onshore and offshore, across the US and Europe in addition to 9 million metering customers applying strategic thinking and commerciality to ensure continued growth and profitability.

Jon’s utility background provides him with an immense depth of knowledge and experience of the importance of maintaining a balance between profit and safety and constructively challenges the Board and management to constantly raise the bar in this area.

Jon is passionate about corporate and social responsibility and was awarded an MBE in 2009 for services to Britain’s Gas Industry. He was instrumental in the Government’s Rehabilitation of Young Offenders programme and has dedicated over 10 years to Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB).

External appointments Jon is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and is also a Chairman of CORGI, North Sea Link, NEMO Link, BritNed Netherlands, Ex-Ambassador of the HM Young Offenders Programme, Director of the Gas and Safety Trust and a Trustee of the National Gas Museums Trust.


Neil Cooper – Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointment Neil was appointed to the Board on 1 April 2016. He is chairman of the Audit Committee and a member of the Remuneration, Nomination and Sustainability Committees.

Skills and experience Neil brings to the Board extensive experience in a wide variety of corporate and financial matters. He is currently the chief financial officer of Currencies Direct, a foreign exchange broker and international payment provider. Previously, he was group finance director of Barratt Developments plc and, before that, group finance director of William Hill plc and Bovis Homes plc. He also held senior finance positions at Whitbread plc, worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a management consultant and held a number of roles with Reckitt & Colman plc.

As chairman of the Audit Committee, Neil has been influential in directing Pennon’s approach on a number of significant matters including internal control, governance and financial reporting.

External appointments Neil is an executive director of Currencies Direct.


Iain Evans – Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointment Iain was appointed to the Board on 31 July 2020. He is chairman of the Sustainability Committee a member of the Audit, Nomination and Remuneration Committees.

Skills and Experience Iain has 40 years of extensive global experience in advising companies and governments on issues of complex corporate strategy. In 1983 he co-founded L.E.K. Consulting in London and built it into one of the world's largest and most respected corporate strategy consulting firms with a global footprint active in a wide range of industries.

Iain was appointed as a non-executive director of Welsh Water plc in 1989 and served on the board for nearly ten years, including five years as chairman.

As chairman of the Sustainability Committee, Iain is leading Pennon’s development of a sustainability programme that underpins the delivery of Pennon’s strategy.

External appointments Iain is a non-executive director of Bologna Topco Limited and continues to act as an independent corporate strategy consultant.


Claire Ighodaro CBE – Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointment Claire was appointed to the Board on 31 July 2020. She was appointed chair of the Remuneration Committee in July 2020 and is also a member of the Audit, Nomination and Sustainability Committees.

Skills and experience Claire has held a number of senior roles and directorships of UK and International organisations and has extensive board experience of serving on audit and governance committees. In May 2019, she stepped down from Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch International Board having served the maximum term. Claire is a past president of CIMA and was the first woman to lead this organisation. She spent most of her executive career with BT plc and has also held non-executive directorships across a diverse portfolio including audit committee chair of Lloyd’s of London, The Open University and various UK public bodies including UK Trade & Investment and the British Council.

She was awarded a CBE in 2008 for services to business. A board level mentor, with Savile Group, from 2009-14, she has also helped executives transitioning into non-executive roles.

As chair of the Remuneration Committee Claire will continue to steer Pennon’s approach on executive remuneration, ensuring that it is aligned with and supports the Group’s strategy.

External appointments Claire is non-executive chairman of Axa XL UK entities and non-executive director of Flood Re, where she is also chair of the audit committee.



Paul Boote – Group Finance Director[1]

Appointment Paul was appointed to the Board of Pennon Group plc on 8 July 2020. He is a member of the Pennon Sustainability Committee and the Pennon Executive.

Skills and experience Paul is a chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience in a variety of industries, with the last 10 years of his experience gained at Pennon.

Paul has held a number of senior roles at Pennon and most recently has been Pennon’s Director of Treasury, Tax and Group Finance. During this time he was responsible for the development of Pennon’s sector-leading sustainable debt portfolio, ensuring the Group maintains a responsible approach to tax, as well as leading on financial reporting matters. Over the past year, Paul has been instrumental in the development and successful implementation of the Group’s recent strategic review. Since 2014 he has been a regular attendee at Audit Committee meetings, where his support and contribution to discussions is highly valued. Paul holds a number of directorships with Group subsidiary companies and is a key member of the executive Finance Committee which, in his new role, he now chairs.

Prior to joining Pennon, Paul held senior finance roles at companies operating in the sport, construction and environmental infrastructure industries.

Paul’s knowledge of the Group and relationships with key external stakeholders, coupled with his corporate finance and financial reporting experience, provides continuity to the Board as the Group evolves through this strategic review period.


[1] Standing invitee at meetings of the South West Water Board