Alan Sutherland

Alan Sutherland has been Chief Executive of the Water Industry Commission since its establishment in 2005, where he presided over the first successful liberalisation of a retail water market in the world, a model now being replicated in England. Prior to WICS’ establishment, he was the Water Industry Commissioner, a role he took up in 1999. Under Alan’s supervision, the water industry in Scotland has become much more efficient – both operating and capital costs are down by some 40% on a like for like basis – and performance standards have improved markedly. The introduction of competition to the Scottish market has further facilitated new and improved services, reduced costs and increased emphasis on efficient water use.

Following the success of market reform in Scotland, Alan was instrumental in the passage of the Water Act 2014 in England. He was originally invited to speak to the All Party Parliamentary Water Group on the future of UK water regulation and gave evidence to the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into the Water White paper. He went on to be highly involved in the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Water Bill and was just one of seven witnesses to give evidence on the Water Bill to the Commons Public Bill Committee. His contribution to the process was acknowledged during debate on the Water Bill in the House of Lords.

More recently, Alan oversaw the Strategic Review of Charges for Scottish Water for 2015-21 (SRC15-21) which was guided by the principle that a well-managed company will “go much further for their customers than they will for the regulator”. He is committed to an unswervingly customer centric price control and is constantly seeking to improve the regulatory framework to make it more supportive of innovation and strengthen the relationship between the regulated company and its customers.

Alan is an experienced speaker at international and national water and utility conferences – most recently participating on an expert panel at Marketforce’s Water Market Reform Conference in July. He is a member of the UK Regulators Network (UKRN) alongside the CEOs of ten other key UK regulators including Ofgem, Ofwat, FCA, and the ORR. Alan has extensive experience in management consultancy and in the investment banking industry. He was formerly a management consultant with Bain and Company and before that a Manager with Robert Fleming and Co. More recently he was Managing Director of Wolverine CIS Ltd. Alan has an MBA and MA from the Wharton School and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and an MA (Hons) from the University of St Andrews.