Yarra Valley Water
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Yarra Valley Water has welcomed two new members to its Board of Directors and announced the appointment of a new Chair.

Gabrielle Bell assumes the role of Chair, a decision announced by the Minister for Water, Harriet Shing.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said he was pleased to welcome Ms Bell to the team and to introduce two new board members, Mary Kanavoutsos and Robyn McLeod.

“Our new board members will guide and support us as we work towards achieving our Strategy 2030 goals and addressing challenges such as climate change, ageing infrastructure, water security and population growth,” Mr McCafferty said.

“Ms Bell will bring a wealth of water management experience and leadership, and her commitment to governance and climate change issues make her a valuable addition to our board.”

Before joining Yarra Valley Water, Ms Bell served on the boards of South East Water and Southern Rural Water. She has been a Director in the public transport, superannuation and public health sectors.

The announcement also brings two new appointments, Robyn McLeod and Mary Kanavoutsos.

Ms McLeod currently holds positions on the Boards of Clean Teq Water Limited, Austin Health, and previously served on the Board of Melbourne Water. Her remarkable career in the water industry includes roles as the Independent Commissioner for Water Security in South Australia, National Director of Water at KPMG, and Executive Director of Major Projects, Water with the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Ms Kanavoutsos has more than 28 years’ experience in the water infrastructure industry, including her role as an Executive Market Director at Jacobs. Her leadership in strategy, technical expertise, and project management spans across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Middle East. She is widely acknowledged for her strong focus on business strategy and customer and community value.

Mr McCafferty paid tribute to outgoing Chair Sue O’Connor and Directors Ian Hamm and Helen Thornton for their exceptional contributions to Yarra Valley Water.

“We’d like to thank Sue O’Connor for her outstanding service as Chair,” Mr McCafferty said.

“Over the past eight years, during her tenure as Chair, Sue has overseen significant milestones. These include conducting our first Citizens Jury process for our 2018–2023 price submission process, delivering ongoing flat bills to our customers, becoming one of the first water corporations in the world to sign the pledge to net zero, building our waste to energy facility (the first of its kind in Victoria), trialling hydrogen, developing a community farm in Wollert, and many more.

“Under Sue’s leadership, the Board has overseen the development and implementation of our Strategy 2030. There is no doubt Sue has contributed to our reputation as a leading water utility on many fronts, including innovation and culture.”

Mr Hamm and Ms Thornton were also lauded for setting high standards for governance and contributing their insights to the board and management.

“Ian’s insights and contribution was always very considerate of community and community views. His counsel in assisting the board on their Aboriginal cultural awareness and caring for country journey was invaluable,” Mr McCafferty said.

“We’d also like to thank Helen Thornton for her stellar service and expertise since joining the Board. Helen played an instrumental role in the development and implementation of our strategy, as well as elevating our approach to risk management.

“We’re better for the contributions they’ve made in the time they have been on the Board. We extend our warmest wishes to Sue, Ian and Helen as they embark on new adventures.”

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