Scottish Water appoint new Chief Executive

Scottish Water has today (Wednesday 19 October 2022) announced the appointment of Alex Plant as Chief Executive to take over from Douglas Millican when he steps down from the role on 31 May 2023 after a decade in the post.

Mr Plant is currently Director of Strategy and Regulation at Anglian Water, which supplies services to 7 million people and is the largest company in England by geographical area covered.

The appointment was made after a recruitment process undertaken by Scottish Water’s board and led by chair Dame Susan Rice. The Scottish Government has approved Mr Plant’s appointment.

Dame Susan said: “After a wide-reaching search, I’m delighted that Alex Plant will become Chief Executive of Scottish Water in June. Alex brings a unique blend of experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, and in organisations large and small.

“Through his very interesting career consistently runs a thread of public service and of genuine commitment to communities, customers, and staff. I have no doubt that Alex will smoothly pick up where Douglas leaves off. As a strategist and an implementer, Alex is well poised to lead Scottish Water into the future.”

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, Michael Matheson, said:

“I congratulate Alex Plant on his appointment, and I look forward to working with him to continue to support the delivery of Scottish Water’s vital services.

“It is clear that there will be challenges ahead with the ongoing cost-of-living pressures, and with the need to address and adapt to climate change when delivering water services.

“But I am encouraged by the progress that has already been made by Scottish Water, with £623m being invested in 2021-22 to upgrade essential treatment works and the water supply and sewerage networks.

“High customer satisfaction levels and strong performance in drinking water quality, along with reducing environmental impacts, are a record I’m sure Alex will want to build upon.”

Mr Plant said:

“I am hugely excited to be taking up this role in an organisation that plays such a vital role in the daily lives of so many people. I look forward to meeting the people who deliver these services, our stakeholders, and the communities we serve.

“A key challenge will be taking forward the transformation work which is already underway. This will ensure that Scotland’s water and waste water services continue to provide value for money and provide confidence for customers as we face some real challenges, especially around climate change.”

Mr Millican said:

“We continue to focus on delivering excellent service for our customers in communities the length and breadth of the country at the same time as transforming, to ensure we can address the challenges of ageing infrastructure and rapidly changing weather patterns caused by climate change.

“I welcome the Board’s appointment of Alex Plant and look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.”

Mr Millican has been Chief Executive since October 2012 and has spent more than 20 years on Scottish Water’s Board and leadership team.

Mr Plant, 52, will commence his role in June 2023. He has been with Anglian Water since 2015. Prior to that he held positions in the Royal Mail, Cambridgeshire County Council, Civil Aviation Authority, and HM Treasury, as well as having held several non-executive director roles. The salary for the CEO role is £295,000, less than any comparable water company Chief Executive in Great Britain.

Scottish Water is responsible for public water supply and waste water services to 5 million people.

Services are supported by a vast range of infrastructure and assets as well as a multi-million-pound capital investment programme. The organisation is progressing with a transformation programme that will achieve net zero status by 2040 and improve resilience for customers for years to come.

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