NEWS: Highet for United Utilities

David Highet, former corporate communications director at North West Water has been named as group director of corporate communications for Britain’s first multi-utility, United Utilities.

David Highet, former corporate communications director at North West

Water has been named as group director of corporate communications for

Britain’s first multi-utility, United Utilities.



Highet will head a six-strong corporate communications team at the

company, which was formed by North West Water’s November take-over of

regional electricity company Norweb.



Other members of the team will include corporate communications manager

Catherine Cairncross, from Norweb, and group media relations manager

Stephen Hum-phreys, from NWW.



As well as providing overall direction, the unit will support the

divisional PR staff. Highet said this core team would also work closely

with UU’s corporate public affairs and investor relations people.



Of the three business divisions, the largest team will be at UU’s

regulated utility unit, which includes the Norweb and NWW businesses.

The team, of around 12, will be headed by corporate communications

manager John Drummond, from NWW.



UU’s international PR will be led by corporate communications manager,

Gordon Gibson, from NWW.



The utility’s new Vertex division, which will offer customer services

such as billing and enquiry-handling, to external organisations and to

UU’s own businesses, will also have dedicated support.



Highet said UU was still hammering out a communications strategy for

Vertex, which is due to open in April, but thought it might need two PR-

related staff.



Highet said the division-based PR staff would report to managers in

their own business managers, with a ‘dotted line’ responsibility to him.



‘It is important to me, and the company, that the function is at the

heart of the business and its ultimate goals’.



Highet said that he intended to continue using Lynne Franks PR and Lowe

Bell Communications, the agencies used pre-merger by NWW, and City Press

Services, Norweb’s media relations agency.



He said the 20-strong PR team had not suffered any redundancies but that

the final details of the restruc-ture would not be decided until March.



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