Utility Regulator announces appointment of new Chief Executive

07 August 2020

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The Utility Regulator today announces the appointment of John French as its new Chief Executive.

Making the announcement, Dr Bill Emery, Chairman of the Utility Regulator board, said:

“We are delighted to appoint John French as our new Chief Executive following an open competition. 

“We look forward to working with John to build on the significant progress that we have made over the last number of years as we look to deliver on the ambitious targets outlined in our corporate strategy.  In highlighting the progress made I would like to thank Jenny Pyper for her tremendous contribution which has left the Utility Regulator well positioned to meet future challenges.

“John brings a wealth of experience to the role.  As well as working in the public sector, he has held senior positions in the energy sector in Northern Ireland.  As the Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland he has led that organisation in its advocacy role, protecting the interests of Northern Ireland consumers.  Given the remit of the Consumer Council he brings a very high level of knowledge and experience of the energy and water sectors in Northern Ireland.”

John French said:

“I am very pleased to be joining the Utility Regulator and am grateful for the opportunity to lead the organisation.  I am really looking forward to working with the Board and leading the team to build on all the organisation has already achieved.

“I recognise that I join the Utility Regulator at a pivotal time.  The transition to a low carbon future is now a key priority. The need to protect consumers and facilitate investment during the uncertainty of a global pandemic, and as the UK transitions out of the EU, is paramount.  Dealing with these challenges means we must reach out to those that share our ambitions and can help us achieve our goals.  I look forward to engaging with the wide range of stakeholders to practically promote the collaborative focus that will help us all meet future challenges.”

John French will assume his new role in the autumn.

For further information, contact Barbara Stevenson on 07794 965922.

- John French succeeds Jenny Pyper, who announced her intention to retire as Chief Executive on 19 February 2020.  John has been Chief Executive of the Consumer Council since July 2015. The Consumer Council is a statutory body who promote and safeguard the interests of consumers and campaign for the best possible standards of service and consumer protection in Northern Ireland.  John graduated from the University of Dundee with an Honours and Master’s degree in Accountancy and Business Finance. He is a Chartered Director and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.  John has more than fifteen years’ experience in policy, finance and regulation in Northern Ireland, GB and at an international level. He joined the Consumer Council from Firmus Energy where he was Director of Regulation and Pricing.