United Utilities boss may quit this year

Steve Dinneen
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UNITED Utilities chief executive Philip Green could step down before the end of the year.

The head of the UK’s largest listed water company is understood to be putting the wheels in motion for his departure after a widely acclaimed spell at the firm.

Green, who has been at United Utilities for four years, would be in line for a bumper £650,000 share package if he reaches five years.

However, a spokesman yesterday told City A.M.: “This is speculation. As far as we are concerned Philip Green is committed to delivering our £3.6bn investment programme for the north west region.”

Green joined the firm from shipping group P&O Nedlloyd.

Last week United Utilities said it was seeing some stabilisation in industrial and commercial demand after reporting a 5.8 per cent fall in pretax profit.

The firm, which supplies water to about seven million customers in the north west of England, said the level of bad debts, where customers cannot pay their bills, had also stabilised at about 3.5 per cent of revenue.

Last year it reported underlying pre-tax profit of £500.4m, down from £531.3m in 2009, due to an increase in the cost of net borrowings. It reduced its net pension deficit by £87m since September, helped by changes to its defined benefit pension scheme.