(qlmbusinessnews.com Tues. 11th June, 2024) London, UK —

“Pennon Group Chief Opts Out of Bonus as Water Contamination Sparks Outrage”

The Chief Executive of South West Water's (SWW) parent company, Pennon Group, has once again opted to forgo her annual performance bonus, amidst public outcry over the company's handling of a parasite outbreak in Devon.

Susan Davy, who leads Pennon Group, was eligible for a £237,000 bonus for the 2023-24 fiscal year. However, the company's annual report disclosed that her total remuneration rose to £860,000 in 2023-24, up from £543,000 the previous year, due to a £298,000 shares bonus.

In a statement, Pennon Group acknowledged the public's concern: “We understand the strength of feeling from our customers and the public around the issues facing the water sector.”

The parasite outbreak, which occurred in May, affected approximately 17,000 customers in Brixham, who were advised to boil their water due to the presence of cryptosporidium, a parasite causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Around 2,500 properties in the Hillhead and Alston areas are still under a boil water advisory as efforts to cleanse supply pipes continue.

The source of the contamination was traced to a damaged valve casing on private land within the company's network. SWW reported that they have “identified the source of the contamination and replaced the damaged air valve casing.”

Ms Davy had similarly waived a £367,000 bonus for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Her base salary for 2023-24 was £562,000, a 3.5% increase from the previous year's £543,000.

Women Chief Executive

Pennon Group revealed that Ms Davy would not receive her annual bonus but did receive a long-term performance award worth £298,000, which must be held for two years and reinvested in Pennon stock. Other executives, including Steve Buck, John Halsall, and outgoing Chief Financial Officer Paul Boote, also opted out of their annual bonuses.

Despite facing a record £2.1 million fine for sewage spills in May, Pennon increased its full-year dividend payout to investors by 3.8%. The company also announced changes to its annual bonus scheme for top executives in 2023-24, linking 60% of the awards to performance metrics related to customer service and environmental impact.

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