Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winner Put the Sparkle Back into Water Giant

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Winner Put the Sparkle Back into Water Giant

Article excerpt

Byline: By Brian Nicholls

Northumbrian Water's boss John Cuthbert crowned a hat-trick of successes last night when he became the 20th winner of the North-East Business Executive of the Year Award.

The day before this personal triumph, the water industry's regulator Ofwat had announced that Northumbrian Water could boost revenues by raising customer charges - which immediately perked the Durham-based utility's share price by 6p to 110p on the London Stock Exchange, where it has rejoined the FTSE-250 after an absence of some years.

Even before that, to set the business on a roll, managing director Cuthbert, 50, had been told the water and sewerage group has been shortlisted for no less than eight national industrial awards also to be made in coming weeks.

Mr Cuthbert has won the North-East title following his success this year in leading a management buy-back that restored Northumbrian Water to regional independence and a full share listing on the exchange.

One judge in the North-East Business Executive competition has described the feat as a "textbook example" of how other North-East firms could enjoy a full stock exchange listing at lower cost.

Largely through Mr Cuthbert's expertise - and background in chartered accountancy - Northumbrian is the UK's first privatised water and sewerage company to be bought, merged, resold and returned to the market.

Mr Cuthbert said on receiving his award in Newcastle last night: "The excellent thing is that all the awards this evening have shown how vibrant and vital the business sector is becoming in the North East."

He paid tribute to Northumbrian Water's 3,500 staff for his success.

Runners-up among nine finalists for the title were Graham Wilson, chairman of Newcastle-based Parkdean Holidays, and Graham Roberts, group chief executive of PD Ports, Logistics and Shipping at Middlesbrough.

Mr Wilson won the Tyneside and Northumberland Business Executive of the Year Award, and Mr Roberts the Tees Valley award. …

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