Meet our board

United Utilities is led by a board of directors and executive team. Each individual has been chosen on the basis of their experience and expertise, as well as their commitment to achieving the very best results for United Utilities and its customers. Together, members of the board of directors develop policies and strategies for implementation by the executive team.

  • Sir David Higgins - chairResponsibilities: Responsible for the leadership of the board, setting its agenda and ensuring its effectiveness on all aspects of its role.

    Qualifications: BEng Civil Engineering, Diploma Securities Institute of Australia, Fellow: the Institute of Civil Engineers and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

    Appointment to the board: May 2019

    Committee membership: Nomination

    Skills and experience: Sir David has spent his career overseeing high profile infrastructure projects, including: the delivery of the Sydney Olympic Village and Aquatics centre; Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent; and the delivery of the 2012 London Olympic Infrastructure Project.

    Career experience: Sir David was previously chief executive of: Network Rail Limited; The Olympic Delivery Authority; and English Partnerships. He has held non-executive roles as chair of both High Speed Two Limited and Sirius Minerals plc. In December 2019 he stepped down as non-executive director and chair of the remuneration committee at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

    Current directorships/business interests: Non executive director of Gatwick Airport and a member of the Council at the London School of Economics. He is Chair of United Utilities Water Limited.

    Specific contribution to the company's long-term success: Sir David’s experience of major infrastructure projects and his knowledge and understanding of the role of regulators will be invaluable in meeting the challenges of the current regulatory period and beyond. As chairman of the nomination committee, he is responsible for ensuring the succession plans for the board and senior management identify the right skillsets to face the challenges of the business.

  • Louise Beardmore

    Responsibilities: To manage the group’s business and to implement the strategy and policies approved by the board.

    Qualifications: Harvard Business School Corporate Director Programme, BSc Business Management (First Class Honours), Vice President of the Institute of Customer Service, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

    Appointment to the board: May 2022.

    Committee membership: ESG

    Skills and experience: Louise has extensive experience working in utility companies both in the UK and internationally and she consistently demonstrates the ability to successfully design, drive and implement organisational strategy in different operating environments. She has a strong strategic mind set and a track record of delivering major transformational change within regulated utility and service structures, improving performance for all stakeholders.

    Career experience: Louise joined United Utilities on its graduate programme and has comprehensive experience of the company, its customers and its regulators. She was appointed as customer service and people director in 2016, prior to which she held a number of senior positions across the United Utilities group. She has led teams in business transformation, water operations, electricity and telecoms as well as customer service and people capabilities both in the UK and internationally.

    Current directorships/business interests: Louise is Chief Executive Officer of United Utilities Water Limited, a non-executive director of Water UK and a non-executive director of Water Plus Limited – a joint venture with Severn Trent serving business customers. She is a non-executive director of Engage for Success and named on the Northern Power Women’s ‘Power List’ in recognition of her contribution to diversity, inclusion and talent, paving the way for female leaders in business.

    Specific contribution to the company’s long-term success: Louise’s strategic vision and constant customer focus will continue to build on the group’s significant performance and delivery for customers, communities and the environment, with a clear focus on ensuring United Utilities plays a pivotal role in building a stronger, greener and healthier North West.

  • Phil AspinResponsibilities: To manage the group’s financial affairs, to contribute to the management of the group’s business and to the implementation of the strategy and policies approved by the board.

    Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Mathematics, Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales (ACA), Fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurer’s (FCT).

    Appointment to the board: July 2020.

    Committee membership: Treasury.

    Skills and experience: Phil has extensive experience of financial and corporate reporting, having qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG and more latterly through his role as group controller. He has a comprehensive knowledge of capital markets and corporate finance underpinned through his previous role as group treasurer and his FCT qualification. Having been actively engaged in the last four regulatory price reviews he has a strong understanding of the economic regulatory environment.

    Career experience: Phil has over 25 years’ experience working for United Utilities. Prior to his appointment as CFO in July 2020, he was group controller with responsibility for the group’s financial reporting and prior to that he was group treasurer with responsibility for funding and financial risk management. He has been a member of EFRAG TEG and chaired the EFRAG Rate Regulated Activities Working Group.

    Current directorships/business interests:Phil was appointed as a member of the UK Accounting Standards Endorsement Board in March 2021. He is chair of the 100 Group pensions committee and a member of both the 100 Group main committee and the stakeholder communications and reporting committee. He is Chief Financial Officer of United Utilities Water Limited and a non-executive director of Water Plus, a joint venture with Severn Trent serving business customers.

    Specific contribution to the company’s long-term success: Phil has driven forward the financial performance of the group and delivered the group’s competitive advantage in financial risk management and excellence in corporate reporting.

  • Liam Butterworth - non-executive director

    Responsibilities: To challenge constructively the executive directors and monitor the delivery of the strategy within the risk and control framework set by the board.

    Qualifications: MBA Business Administration and Management, CIM Marketing, HND Mechanical Production Engineering.

    Appointment to the board: January 2022.

    Committee membership: Audit, ESG and Nomination.

    Skills and experience: As a serving CEO, Liam brings strong engineering and industrial technology experience to the board, with a track record of managing performance and enhancing corporate culture.

    Career experience: Liam has over 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry. He started his career at Lucas Industries as an apprentice toolmaker, before moving into marketing, sales and purchasing at FCI Automotive. Joining Delphi Technologies plc in 2012, he became CEO in December 2017. He joined GKN Automotive Limited, as CEO in 2018 and was appointed as CEO of its parent Dowlais Group plc in 2023.

    Current directorships/business interests: Liam is CEO of Dowlais Group plc. He is also a non-executive director of United Utilities Water Limited.

    Specific contribution to the company’s long-term success: Liam’s operational experience will contribute to the board’s continuing focus on the performance of the business via the systems thinking approach.

  • Kath Cates

    Responsibilities: To challenge constructively the executive directors and monitor the delivery of the strategy within the risk and control framework set by the board.

    Qualifications: Solicitor of England and Wales. Appointment to the board: September 2020.

    Committee membership: Audit, Remuneration and Nomination.

    Skills and experience: Kath has spent most of her career working in a regulated environment in the financial services industry. Since 2014, she has focused on her non-executive roles, chairing all the main board committees and undertaking the role of senior independent director.

    Career experience: Kath previously was chief operating officer at Standard Chartered plc before which she held a number of roles at UBS Limited over a 22-year period, prior to which she qualified as a solicitor. She stepped down as a non-executive director at Brewin Dolphin Holdings plc in February 2021 and from RSA Insurance Group plc, where she chaired the remuneration committee, in June 2021.

    Current directorships/business interests: Kath is a non-executive director at Columbia Threadneedle Investments where she chairs the TPEN audit committee and a non-executive director of TP ICAP Group Plc. She is the senior independent non-executive director of United Utilities Water Limited.

    Specific contribution to the company’s long-term success: Kath’s broad board experience enables her to contribute to board governance and risk management at United Utilities.

  • Alison Goligher - non-executive directorResponsibilities: To challenge constructively the executive directors and monitor the delivery of the strategy within the risk and control framework set by the board and to lead the board’s activities concerning directors’ remuneration.

    Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Mathematical Physics, MEng Petroleum Engineering.

    Appointment to the board: August 2016.

    Committee membership: Remuneration, ESG and Nomination.

    Skills and experience: Alison has strong technical and capital project management skills, having been involved in large projects and the production side of Royal Dutch Shell’s business. This experience of engineering and industrial sectors provides the board with additional insight into delivering United Utilities’ capital investment programme.

    Career experience: Royal Dutch Shell (2006 to 2015), where Alison’s most recent executive role was Executive Vice President Upstream International Unconventionals. Prior to that she spent 17 years with Schlumberger, an international supplier of technology, integrated project management and information solutions to the oil and gas industry.

    Current directorships/business interests: Alison is a part-time executive chair at Silixa Ltd. She was appointed as a non-executive director of Technip Energies NV in February 2021. She is an independent non-executive director of United Utilities Water Limited.

    Specific contribution to the company's long-term success: Alison’s understanding of the operational challenges of large capital projects and the benefits of deploying technology provides valuable insight into addressing the longer-term strategic risks faced by the business. Her role as the designated non-executive director for workforce engagement will provide the board with a better understanding of the views of employees and greater clarity on the culture of the company.

     

  • Paulette Rowe - non-executive director

    Responsibilities: To challenge constructively the executive directors and monitor the delivery of the strategy within the risk and control framework set by the board.

    Qualifications: MEng + Man (Hons), MBA.

    Appointment to the board: July 2017.

    Committee membership: ESG and Nomination.

    Skills and experience: Paulette has spent most of her career in the regulated finance industry and so provides the board with additional perspective and first-hand regulatory experience. Her experience of technology-driven transformation will contribute to United Utilities’ customer experience programme and its Systems Thinking approach.

    Career experience: Paulette has held senior executive roles in banking and technology at Meta, Barclays, The Royal Bank of Scotland/Natwest and at the Paysafe Group. She is a former trustee and chair of children's charity The Mayors Fund for London.

    Current directorships/business interests: Paulette is a non-executive director of Thredd, a private equity owned venture, and she was appointed as CEO of Staxs Payments in August 2023.

    Specific contribution to the company's long-term success: Paulette's wide-ranging experience in regulated sectors, profit and loss management, technology and innovation enables her to provide a first hand contribution to many board topics of discussion and she has been instrumental in providing challenge on the group's equity, diversity and inclusion activities.

  • Doug Webb - non-executive director

    Responsibilities: To challenge constructively the executive directors and monitor the delivery of the strategy within the risk and control framework set by the board.

    Qualifications: MA Geography and Management Science, Chartered Accountant (FCA).

    Appointment to the board: September 2020.

    Committee membership: Audit, Remuneration, Treasury and Nomination.

    Skills and experience: Doug has extensive career experience in finance from qualifying as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse, his executive roles as CFO of major listed companies and more recently through his non-executive positions and focus on audit committee activities.

    Career experience: Doug was previously chief financial officer at Meggitt PLC from 2013 to 2018 and prior to that, he was chief financial officer at both the London Stock Exchange Group plc and QinetiQ Group plc. He is a former non-executive director and audit committee chair at SEGRO plc, having stepped down in 2019.

    Current directorships/business interests: Doug currently serves as a non-executive director and audit committee chair at Johnson Matthey plc and senior independent director at BMT Ltd. He is an independent non-executive director of United Utilities Water Limited.

    Specific contribution to the company’s long-term success: Doug’s financial capabilities and his experience as an audit committee chair strengthen the board’s financial expertise.

  • Michael Lewis - non-executive director

    Responsibilities: To challenge constructively the executive directors and monitor the delivery of the strategy within the risk and control framework set by the board.

    Qualifications: BEng (Hons) Engineering Technology, MSc Pollution and Environmental Control, MA Environmental Law.

    Appointment to the board: May 2023.

    Committee membership: ESG and Nomination

    Skills and experience: Michael has spent his career in customer-facing regulated utilities and has considerable experience of working with both environmental and economic regulators. He has been responsible for managing a wide range of capital investment projects aimed at improving the customer experience, and driving environmental sustainability has been a key focus throughout his career.

    Career experience: Michael started his career at Wessex Water plc, prior to joining PowerGen plc, which was subsequently acquired by E.ON SE. He joined the management board of E.ON Climate and Renewables in 2007, and was appointed as CEO in 2015, where he pioneered its large scale offshore wind power capabilities. He was appointed as CEO of E.ON UK in 2017, where he has led the company’s transformation into a leading supplier of zero carbon energy solutions. He became CEO of the German listed Uniper SE, one of Europe’s leading power generation and gas supply companies, in June 2023. He was formerly a non-executive director of Equinor ASA. 

    Current directorships/business interests: Michael is CEO of Uniper SE, and a Member of the Natural Environment Research Council. He is an independent non-executive director of United Utilities Water Limited. Specific contribution to the company’s long-term success: His extensive experience in regulated customer-facing utilities will help the board in its planning for the 2025-2030 Price Review period, and his focus on sustainability will help the board further develop its ambitions to reduce the group’s carbon footprint and achieve its net zero commitment by 2030.