PN 12/13 New Board member and executive directors complete Ofwat’s leadership team


16 December 2013

Ofwat has welcomed the appointment, by the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, of Christine Farnish as a Non-Executive Director to Ofwat’s Board.

Christine Farnish will join the Ofwat Board, following the appointment of Christopher Burchell, Martin Lawrence and Professor Catherine Waddams in May 2013. Christine will join the Board in January.

Ofwat has also appointed three new Directors:

  • Claire Forbes has started as Director – Corporate Communications
  • Bev Messinger has started as Senior Director – Operations
  • Richard Khaldi starts in January as Senior Director – Customers and Casework

These appointments, made by new CEO Cathryn Ross and the Board, complete Ofwat’s new Executive Team. They follow Sonia Brown’s promotion to Chief Regulation Officer in the summer. Ofwat is also currently in the process of recruiting a General Counsel.

Jonson Cox, Ofwat’s Chairman said:

“Customers, the industry and investors have told us that they rely on a strong, independent and robust regulator. All these appointments, executive and non-executive, together with those earlier in the year, play a vital role in rebuilding Ofwat’s capability.

“Christine has an impressive range of public and private sector experience. In particular, her consumer expertise will be invaluable.”

Cathryn Ross, Ofwat’s Chief Executive Officer said:

“Bev, Claire and Richard bring a breadth of expertise and experience that will enhance our leadership team. Alongside our current price review, our priority will be to deliver a new strategy for Ofwat which ensures effective regulation in the face of future challenges.”



Christine Farnish

Christine is currently a Civil Service Commissioner and Chair of Consumer Futures until the transfer of its remaining work to the Citizens Advice service in March 2014. Prior to that she was a Managing Director at Barclays, CEO at the National Association of Pension Funds, Consumer Director at the Financial Services Authority and at OFTEL; and held a number of senior roles in local government.

Her early career was at the Countryside Commission. Christine has served on the Boards of the Office of Fair Trading, the Advertising Standards Authority, ING Direct and Papworth NHS Trust. She is currently a non-executive director on the Boards of Aggregate Industries, ABTA, and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals. She also chairs the Peer2Peer Finance Association.

Christine graduated in Geography and Botany from Manchester University with first class honours in 1971 and gained an MSc in Conservation from UCL in 1972.

Claire Forbes

Claire Forbes has nearly twenty years’ experience in corporate communications in roles spanning the not-for-profit and public sector. Prior to joining Ofwat she was Director of Communications at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and has previously worked in a similar role at the Advertising Standards Authority.

Bev Messinger

Bev has a public service career spanning more than 30 years. She has held significant leadership positions for four local authorities, most recently Coventry City Council. As Head of HR, and interim Chief Executive, she spent five years transforming Coventry Council from the edge of government intervention to an “outstanding council.” As Director of Customer and Workforce Services she improved efficiency and cost efficiency across the organisation.

Bev is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and a Non-Executive Director at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Richard Khaldi

Richard joins Ofwat after six years at the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, where he was Head of Competition overseeing the regulation and management of the Scottish non-household retail market – the first competitive water market in the world. Previous to that Richard was a practising solicitor specialising in regulatory investigations and complex civil claims. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Notes to Editors


  1. The Water Services Regulation Authority (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. Christine Farnish’s appointment is based on a time commitment of three days per month and receives a remuneration rate of £19,000 per annum. The appointments start on 1 January 2014 and run for three years.
  3. The appointment means that Ofwat’s Board will comprise: Chairman Jonson Cox, Chris Burchell, Martin Lawrence, Catherine Waddams, Wendy Barnes, Penny Boys, Robin Paynter Bryant, Christine Farnish and executive directors Cathryn Ross, Keith Mason and Sonia Brown. Following Christine Farnish’s arrival, Penny Boys will have completed her period of appointment and retire from Ofwat’s Board in March 2014. Penny Boys has been a non-executive member of Ofwat’s Board since April 2006.
  4. Appointments to the Ofwat Board are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments and has been conducted within the principles of the Commissioner’s Code of Practice. All Board appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. The candidate has completed a political activity questionnaire as part of the recruitment process and no political activity has been declared.
  5. Media enquiries to Ofwat Press Office on:
    Benedict Fisher 0121 644 7642 / [email protected]
    Harbinder Babra 0121 644 7616 / [email protected]