THE Right Honourable Ruth Kelly has been appointed as the new Chair of Water UK. She replaces Anthony Ferrar who has concluded his three-year term that he has held since April 2020.
Kelly, who is from Limavady in Co. Derry, was MP for Bolton West 1997-2010, and served in the Cabinet for four years as a secretary of state under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Kelly briefly lived in the Republic before moving to England.
Since stepping down as an MP, Kelly became the Global Head of Client Strategy at HSBC Global Asset Management and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
Currently she is the Chair of Thames Freeport, a Director of Heathrow Airport, advises the Vatican on its financial portfolio and, last year, was appointed Senior Fellow at the Policy Exchange think tank.
Commenting on her appointment, The Rt Hon. Ruth Kelly, said: “This is a crucial time to be joining the water industry where there is, rightly, increasing scrutiny on its performance. I know how important water and the environment are to all of us, especially as we face the increasing pressures of climate change and population growth.
“I look forward to working closely with company chief executives on the transformation that is required to meet the understandable and increasing public expectations for improved rivers and seas. Water UK has a crucial role to play and I am excited to lead it as it supports the water industry to rise to the challenges before it.
Kelly is a practising Catholic, and a member of the Opus Dei, an official institution within the Catholic Church.
Her new role at Water UK will bring her into direct contact with a fellow Derry exile in England — Feargal Sharkey, formerly the lead singer with The Undertones. Sharkey is Sharkey is a lifelong fly fisherman and has campaigned against the pollution of British rivers (particularly chalk streams). He is currently the chairman of the Amwell Magna Fishery and has become the high profile figurehead for the campaign to prevent water companies dumping sewage into UK waterways and coasts.