Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Water Bosses Don't Merit Perks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Water Bosses Don't Merit Perks

Article excerpt

OF course, as Chris Blackhurst argues, we should not pay bonuses to public utility executives for simply doing their job well (22 July).

If some completely unpredictable event arises, calling for exceptional leadership or management skills, appropriate financial recognition is called for. But the amount involved should surely never dwarf basic remuneration.

Apart from there now being slightly more customers, the job of running a water-services undertaking is no different or more difficult than it was preprivatisation.

In the financial year before this disastrous change was implemented, Thames Water's chief executive was considered very well paid on about [pounds sterling]65,000 a year.

How the present incumbent, David Owens, can now justify a package total of [pounds sterling]812,000 (of which more than [pounds sterling]660,000 is bonus) is beyond belief, and outrageous when 12 million captive consumers have no alternative but to fund it.

We now know who Margaret Thatcher meant when she declared water privatisation would produce significant financial benefits for people.

Rest assured, subordinates several levels below Owens will, proportionately, be enjoying similar largesse.

And it is not just the present generation of directors who have profited: at least one retired water company CEO is having to struggle along on an annual, index-linked pension of [pounds sterling]300,000 despite his company failing to meet agreed water-leakage targets for five consecutive years.

Who said there were no rewards for failure? …

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