Thames Water fills PA team void as buyout looms

Thames Water, which was this week poised to be acquired by Australian investment fund Macquarie, has promoted external affairs manager Ulrike Ebert to the new role of head of stakeholder engagement.

The move is an attempt to fill the void created by the axing last month of the ­company's London-based public ­affairs team, led by head of PA Kathryn Oakley (PRWeek, 8 Sep).

Based at the firm's Reading HQ, Ebert will liaise with The Consumer Council for Water and handle the next water pricing review, which will set price limits beyond 2010. 

Thames Water head of comms Nick Tennant said its external ­affairs department was ‘likely to go down to under 30' from 64, ­although this includes staff in design and graphics, a function being outsourced.

He added that it was ‘too early to be definitive' on job cuts at the company.

The firm is halfway through a 90-day consultation period on redundancies, instigated by current owner RWE.

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