PN 02/12 Ofwat welcomes new Board members



  • Gill Owen reappointed to the Ofwat Board
  • Sonia Brown appointed Senior Director of Markets and Economics

22 February 2012

Following today’s announcement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Ofwat welcomed the appointment of Wendy Barnes and Robin Paynter Bryant to its Board.

Defra has also confirmed that Gillian Owen has been re-appointed to the Board. Owen was originally appointed to the Board in January 2007.

Philip Fletcher, Ofwat Chairman said:

“I am delighted to be welcoming new members at an exciting time for Ofwat and the sector. There are many challenges ahead and Wendy and Robin will bring new experience and skills to the Board to help us tackle those challenges. We will also continue to benefit from our existing Board members’ expertise, including Gill who has been reappointed. I look forward to working with the entire Board to build on Ofwat’s success so far and to continue to deliver on our strategy.”

Ofwat has also announced that Sonia Brown has been appointed as the new Senior Director of Markets and Economics, starting on 1 March. The role includes a position as an Executive Director on the Ofwat Board.

Commenting on the appointment, Regina Finn, Ofwat Chief Executive Officer said:

“Sonia will bring a fresh perspective to our work, along with the skills and experience we need to continue to drive forward our performance. This is a crucial period for the water sector, and Sonia will play a vital role in ensuring we can continue to deliver sustainable water – for today’s customers and the customers of the future.”

Biographical details

Wendy Barnes has held several executive positions in her 24 year experience in the nuclear and water industries. Starting as a professional statistician, Wendy then moved in to the area of Customer Service, Marketing and Business Development. She was also responsible for leading several large change programmes.

Since leaving corporate life in 2003 Wendy has held several Non-Executive Director positions in government security and defence departments as well as running her own coaching and consultancy company. She is currently Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and a non executive director at FCO Services, a trading fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Wendy is also an executive coach and mentor and on the Finance Committee at Chester Cathedral.

Robin Paynter Bryant has more than two decades of experience in corporate finance, with a strong background in utilities.

After joining Hill Samuel & Co in 1982 to work on asset, liability and treasury risk management for utilities and large companies, he has worked at financial institutions including LCF Edmond de Rothschild, Credit Lyonnais Securities, Daiwa Europe and Mizuho Corporate Bank.

With experience across water, electricity, and oil & gas, he has advised companies such as Italgas SpA, and Severn Trent Water, as well as Italian State Railways on the establishment and financing of TAV SpA, the new Italian national TGV network.

He has previously served as a non-executive Director of Prime International Investments Group, and has advised the UK Department of Education on strategic and financial options for its private equity partnership in the Building Schools for Future Investment Programme.

Gillian Owen is an independent consultant, a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Management Under Regulation at the Warwick Business School and the Policy and Regulation Adviser to the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). Gillian was previously a member of the Competition Commission, a non-executive director at Ofgem and a member of the Bedfordshire Police Authority.

Sonia Brown is an economist, with extensive experience of markets, regulation and utilities. She currently works at Monitor, a non-departmental public body which authorises and regulates NHS foundation trusts, where she has undertaken the role of Transition Policy Director and Chief Economist. Before that she spent more than ten years at Ofgem, where she performed a variety of roles, including Director of EU Strategy and Environment, Director of Wholesale Markets, and Director of Electricity Trading arrangements.


Notes to editors:


  1. Ofwat is the economic regulator of water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. It exercises its powers in a way that it judges will protect the interests of consumers, promote value and safeguard future water and sewerage services by allowing efficient companies to carry out their functions properly, and finance them.
  2. The appointments mean that Ofwat’s Board will comprise: Chairman Philip Fletcher, non-executive directors Penny Boys, Gillian Owen, Robin Paynter Bryant and Wendy Barnes, and executive directors Regina Finn, Keith Mason and Sonia Brown.
  3. The appointments run for the following periods:
    • Robin Paynter Bryant: January 2012 until January 2016
    • Wendy Barnes: February 2012 until February 2016
    • Sonia Brown: March 2012 until March 2015
    • Gillian Owen’s reappointment runs from April 2011 – April 2014.


  4. Media enquiries to Ofwat Press Office on: