He left in November after differences with the new chairman, Sir Desmond Pitcher, who was paid pounds 338,000 for the year to March, according to the company's annual report. Sir Desmond's pay was 42 per cent up on his predecessor Dennis Grove, who received pounds 238,000.
Relations between Mr Thian and Sir Desmond were strained, it is thought, because of disagreements over strategy. Both men have been described as combative.
Mr Thian, a barrister with a business background, was behind North West Water's aggressive expansion abroad to such places as Thailand, Malaysia and Mexico. He was thought reluctant to to cede more autonomy as the business grew.
His pounds 398,400 pay-off includes one year's salary of pounds 250,000 plus pounds 60,000 for pension arrangements and salary for part of the year he had already worked. He had a three-year rolling contract. His share options, granted at 278p and 315.5p, are worth about pounds 276,000.
Mr Thian has been replaced by Briain Staples, formerly in charge of Tarmac's construction business. His salary will not be revealed until next year's accounts are published. However, he is on a three- year contract and thought to earn as much as Mr Thian.
A spokesman said that Sir Desmond's salary was far larger than his predecessor's because he was a more active, high-profile chairman.
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