Pensions consultants back Scott: Yorkshire water group urged to appoint woman with consumer experience

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The Independent Online
DIANA SCOTT, former chairwoman of an Ofwat consumer committee, has won the backing of Pensions Investment Research Consultants in her fight for a seat on the board of Yorkshire Water. PIRC, which advises investors on corporate governance issues, has called on shareholders to vote for Mrs Scott's election at the annual meeting on 29 September.

Yorkshire Water has been heavily criticised by Mrs Scott, who alleges it is out of touch with customers and small shareholders and has criticised its standards of service. The company said it opposed her election on the grounds that she lacks business experience.

Stuart Bell, PIRC's research director, said: 'The issues which Mrs Scott has raised have serious implications for the company's relations with customers, the regulators and the community, and thus ultimately on shareholder value. We consider that the company has not dealt adequately with these matters.'

Mr Bell said that Yorkshire received more complaints than average for the industry and that Mrs Scott's experience with consumer issues was just as important as a business background.

Mrs Scott, 50 and a mother of three, is chairwoman of the Independent Television Commission's regional consumer committee and vice-chairwoman of the Yorkshire and Leeds duty solicitors' committees. She is seeking support from leading institutions including BAT, Prudential and the British Coal Pension Funds.

PIRC said that Yorkshire Water should provide a fuller explanation of its remuneration policy, disclosing the elements of each director's pay.

The consultancy has called for a complete evaluation of share options in the annual report, to enable shareholders to calculate gains made, and for directors to have contracts running for no more than a year.

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