Ofwat names former Ofgem legal director as first GC

The UK’ s water industry watchdog Ofwat has appointed former Ofgem legal director Elizabeth Hillman as its first general counsel following a management reshuffle. 

Hillman reports into the regulator’s new chief executive Cathryn Ross who took over at the end of last year. Ross launched a hunt for the body’s first general counsel in November as part of a bid to restructure the leadership team (6 December 2013).

Hillman took up the post last month and heads up an existing team of 11 lawyers. It is her second post at a key UK regulator, having worked for seven years at energy regulator Ofgem as legal director. She moved to Ofwat from energy giant EDF, where she was head of the B2B and upstream legal team at energy giant EDF Energy.

Elizabeth Hillman

The new post is a first for the regulator and part of Ross’ reorgnisation of Ofwat’s management. The former Office of Rail Regulation markets and economics director took the helm at Ofwat in October. Two months later she told a parliamentary committee at the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that she had taken steps to “strengthen the senior leadership at Ofwat”. 

In December she named three new non-executive directors and promoted Sonia Brown to a beefed up role as chief regulation officer. Richard Khaldi was named senior customer and casework director, Claire Forbes as corporate communications director and Bev Messinger as operations director.

Hillman will aid the new-look board and executive team on regulatory and competition issues with a remit to “provide high-quality strategic, risk-based legal advice” to Ross.

It is not clear whether she was also put in post to lead a panel review for the regulator. Ofwat is due to launch a review this year when its current roster expires but Hillman is not believed to have started that process yet.

In 2010 the body appointed its first-ever legal panel with Addleshaw Goddard, legacy Norton Rose and legacy Wragge & Co put in post.

The general counsel role was advertised at senior civil servant pay band two, which attracts a salary of between £84,000 and £164,125, with the final salary expected to be around £120,000.

Until now Ofwat’s legal director Huw Brooker has run the legal function, along with deputy directors Noel Beale and Sophie Shaw. All three will report to the general counsel under the new structure.