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Business & Economy

Queen honours Heidi Mottram with CBE

Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water Group, has been awarded a CBE for services to the water industry and business community in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Heidi joined Northumbrian Water Group, whose main business is to serve 4.5million people with water and sewerage services,  in 2009 and has driven the business to lead the way in customer service, environmental practice, innovation and social responsibility.

Following on from a successful career in the rail industry, where Heidi’s work was recognised with an OBE in 2009, she has transferred her experience to the water industry and has driven a values-based, high performance culture, enabling the business to become industry leading in many areas.

Heidi has demonstrated inspirational leadership as the first female CEO in the water industry. She has championed diversity in the industry, reforming her own Executive Leadership Team to be 50-50 gender balanced and providing support, coaching and guidance to many women both in the industry and further afield. As a result, in 2016 she was recognised nationally as one of the Top 50 women in engineering.

Heidi’s strong environmental and social ethos has resulted in the business being recognised nationally and internationally for responsible business practice during her tenure as CEO; achieving the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2014 and being named as one of the world’s most ethical companies for the last seven years by Ethisphere – the only water company on the world to be recognised on this global list alongside only five other UK companies.

Heidi also actively supports the local community, having implemented policies to enable NWG to donate 1% of pre-tax profits every year to charitable causes, enabling 55% of employees to volunteer in work time and supporting approximately1500 community organisations each year.  Her personal commitment is demonstrated in her role as Chair of Governors of Castle View Enterprise Academy, a sponsored academy school in a deprived area of Sunderland and as a Trustee for WaterAid, the national charity which promotes clean water and sanitation for all.

In 2016 Heidi’s work in the area of responsible business practice was recognised by HRH Prince of Wales when he made her his Business in the Community Ambassador for the North East.  This success has been sustained and the last few months has seen the business collecting many national awards for excellent performance, including being awarded the UK Excellence Awards Company of the Year, the Utility Week Utility of the Year and Water Industry Company of the year.

Heidi demonstrates active leadership beyond her business and she played a leading role nationally in shaping and developing the new retail market which opened in April 2017.  Heidi also is a visible and active leader in the wider business community, chairing the regional CBI Council from 2013-15 before becoming a member of the CBI national board; taking on the role as Vice Chair to Lord Adonis’ Strategic Economic Review for the North East LEP area in 2014/15 before joining the NE LEP Board as Vice Chair in 2016.

Heidi Mottram said: “I feel incredibly proud to receive this honour. I am very lucky to have the privilege to lead such a fantastic organisation as Northumbrian Water Group and I hope this award also reflects the amazing work that our teams do to keep the water flowing for the customers and regions that we are proud to serve.’

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General at the CBI, said: “Heidi has been at the forefront of the business community for some years now, displaying inspirational and innovative leadership in her time with Northumbrian Water Group.

“She has been a true champion for businesses and their role in wider society, and has been a strong advocate for firms in all corners of the country in her work with the CBI.”