Procurement chief takes helm at troubled NI Water

6 January 2011
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6 January 2011 | Angeline Albert  

Northern Ireland Water's (NI Water) engineering procurement director has stepped up to lead the company, following the CEO’s resignation this week.

The board at NI Water has appointed the director of engineering procurement Trevor Haslett as acting CEO and board director of the company, after chief executive Laurence MacKenzie tendered his resignation from these roles on 5 January. 

MacKenzie described the company, which is the sole provider of water in Northern Ireland, as facing an “unprecedented situation” of water shortages over the Christmas holidays owing to burst pipes caused by freezing weather.

In a statement MacKenzie said: “I readily accept and recognise that there were aspects of the way in which we handled the situation that could have been better. I apologise sincerely both personally and on behalf of the organisation. A fundamental part of the work I have been engaged in over recent days has been around setting up procedures to ensure that failing is not repeated.

“I wish Trevor every success as he seeks to move the company forward over the coming months. His invaluable experience and knowledge of this organisation and the water industry as a whole will continue to be a major asset for the company.”

NI Water confirmed on 5 January that there were no properties without water supply.

In July 2010, four interim non-executive directors were appointed to the board of NI Water to replace those sacked following a breakdown in procurement standards at the utility company. The company’s board conducted an internal review of procurement practices after MacKenzie became aware of a breach in the organisation’s licence and governance arrangements. Chris Mellor, John Ballard, Ruth Thompson and Declan Gormley were dismissed in March 2010 following breaches relating to contract approvals including failure to put contracts out to competitive tender.

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