Yorkshire Water hires ‘Mondeo Man’ as new chairman

THE ENGINEER behind some of Britain’s most successful cars is taking on a new challenge at the helm of one of Yorkshire’s biggest companies.

The Ford Mondeo

Kelda Group, the Bradford-based owner of Yorkshire Water, has appointed Professor Richard Parry-Jones CBE as its new non-executive chairman.

He will replace Kevin Whiteman, the former chief executive turned chairman who is credited with leading the regulated firm through a difficult turnaround in the 1990s.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Mr Parry-Jones, also Welshman, spent nearly four decades with the Ford Motor Company, where helped to design best-selling cars such as the Mondeo, Focus, Ka, Fiesta and Escort.

Professor Richard Parry-Jones CBE

He was also in charge of the Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda and Volvo brands, then owned by Ford.

Mr Parry-Jones retired in 2007 as group vice president, global product development and chief technical officer and has since combined a career in consultancy with senior board roles at global engineer GKN and Network Rail, which he chairs.

He said: “Clean water and sanitation are taken for granted by most of us who live in advanced economies, yet it is a critical public service requiring enormous skill, technology and investment, coupled with passionate customer and environmental care.

“I am excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to work with the executive team to help the men and women of Yorkshire Water and Kelda, one of the best water utility companies in the world, to continue to deliver services ever more safely, reliably and efficiently in the framework of great values and the intelligent use of technology.”

Mr Parry-Jones has advised the UK and Welsh governments topics ranging from industrial policy to transport and energy, and has worked with universities to improve and promote teaching and research excellence in engineering. He was awarded an MBE in 2004 for his services to the automobile industry.

Mr Parry-Jones will join the board of directors of Kelda and Yorkshire Water as a non-executive director from January 1, 2015, before officially taking over as non-executive chairman in April.

Mr Whiteman is leaving the group after 17 years. The former colliery manager has taken over the chairmanship of Ilkley-based engineering group NG Bailey, one of Yorkshire’s largest family-owned businesses.