Cox takes the plunge at Anglian

AWG, the owner of Anglian Water, ended its search for a new chief executive yesterday by appointing Jonson Cox, the former Yorkshire Water and Railtrack director, to the job.

Mr Cox, 47, will take up the £350,000-a-year post in January. He is currently the chief executive of Valpak, a privately owned business chaired by the former Conservative cabinet minister John Gummer, which runs a recycling scheme for big retailers and manufacturers.

AWG has been without a chief executive since Chris Mellor was ousted in March and the company's chairman, Peter Hickson, took on the role on an interim basis.

One of Mr Cox's main tasks will be to prepare for the next five-year periodic price review. The supplier suffered a setback last week when the regulator Ofwat rejected its application for an increase in bills and said that, on the contrary, they might need to come down. It has asked for a 42 per cent increase in charges from 2005-10.

Mr Cox spent six years with Yorkshire Water until he left in September 2000 to join Railtrack. He had been there for seven weeks when the Hatfield disaster occurred, leading to speed restrictions across the network. Although Mr Cox was not responsible for them, he was ousted in August 2001 by Railtrack's chairman, who decided the company did not need a chief operating officer.

"It was a very painful time," said Mr Cox of his 11-month stint at Railtrack. "I am really pleased to be back in water."

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