Britain’s biggest water company has been forced back to the drawing board in its search for a new boss after the frontrunner for the job pulled out of the process.
Sky News has learnt that Basil Scarsella, who was being lined up as Thames Water’s next chief executive, has decided against taking the job.
Sources said on Friday that Thames had now resumed its hunt for a successor to Steve Robertson, who was ousted last May after a period of weak performance.
Mr Scarsella – who Sky News revealed in November was the leading contender to become Thames’s new chief – had been on the verge of being announced publicly as Mr Robertson’s replacement.
A source close to the company said he had withdrawn his name from the process “for entirely understandable personal reasons”.
The news that Thames is resuming its search for a chief executive comes six weeks after it was told by the industry regulator to cut customers’ average bills by more than 7% over the next five years.
Water companies have until the middle of February to decide whether to mount a formal challenge to Ofwat’s final price determinations, which were set out just four days after the general election.
Industry analysts believe Thames is unlikely to appeal, having received a final settlement that was less draconian than feared.
The company has brought in specialist restructuring advisers amid concerns that Ofwat’s ruling could make it impossible to service its £12bn debt mountain.
Anglian Water and…
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