Steve Robertson, former CEO of Thames Water, has received £2.8 million (about €3.12 million - US$3.52 million) since his departure from the company in May 2019, even though he was asked to leave over the company’s poor management of leaks while he was in charge, informs The Guardian.
He received a £2 m payment for losing his job, plus an additional £777,500 for a 12-month notice. These details are known just days after the Guardian published news about raw sewage discharges into England’s rivers, and specifically discharges by Thames Water into London’s Olympic Park wetlands for more than 1,000 hours in 2019 through a combined sewer overflow.
In 2018, water sector regulator Ofwat fined Thames Water £120 m (close to €134 m) due to its failure to deal with leaks. The investigation by Ofwat found that the company breached two of its legal obligations through poor leakage management, concluding that the company did not pay sufficient attention to reducing leaks and also underestimated the significance of its underperformance telling Ofwat it was complying with its obligations.
Wates companies in England are under increasing scrutiny as they fail to tackle leaks and offer their customers value for their money. Privatised three decades ago, the companies have been criticised for paying large sums in dividends to shareholders, as well as large salaries to their executives. The Labour party has promised to bring them back into public ownership.
A spokesperson for Thames Water explained that water customers will not pay for Steve Robertson’s payoff, pointing out he did not receive a bonus for two years while he worked for the company, as the company prioritised investments to improve services. “His payment for loss of office, which was calculated with his incentives and performance in mind, was funded through earnings generated outside the regulated business. The money would otherwise have been due to our shareholders.” He also noted the company reduced leakages by 15% in 2019, well above its regulatory target.