SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SJW Group (NYSE: SJW) (“SJW Group”) today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Connecticut Water Service, Inc., has selected Maureen P. Westbrook to become president of Connecticut Water Service effective Dec. 1, 2019. Connecticut Water Service comprises SJW Group’s New England region and provides water service to a population of nearly 450,000 in 80 communities in Connecticut and Maine through its operating utility companies Connecticut Water, Avon Water, Heritage Village and Maine Water. Westbrook will be the president of the Connecticut utilities, and Rick Knowlton will continue to serve as president of Maine Water.
“Maureen is uniquely qualified to fill this role given her 30 years of experience leading the customer service, communication and regulatory affairs efforts at Connecticut Water and her passion for serving customers and employees,” stated Eric W. Thornburg, chairman, president and chief executive officer of SJW Group. Thornburg further explained, “She is highly respected in the water industry and has established strong working relationships with regulators and officials at both the state and national levels. Under her leadership, the company has expanded its communication and community outreach efforts, advanced a number of environmental goals, and routinely achieved world-class customer satisfaction.”
Westbrook began her career at Connecticut Water in 1988, and has served as the company’s vice president of customer and regulatory affairs since 2008. She is on the board of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and she has served as president of the Connecticut Section of American Water Works Association and the Connecticut Water Works Association, on the board of the National Association of Water Companies, and as co-chair of Connecticut’s Water Planning Council Advisory Group. She has a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. Westbrook will be the first woman president of Connecticut Water.
SJW Group combined with Connecticut Water on Oct. 9, 2019 to create the third-largest investor-owned pure-play water and wastewater utility, based on rate base, in the United States, serving nearly 1.5 million people across California, Connecticut, Maine and Texas. Thornburg stated, “With her academic and practical experience in public health and environmental policy, Maureen is ideally suited for the opportunities and challenges of an industry-leading water utility. She is a trusted leader, and I am confident she will build on the company’s strong culture and honor the customer service and local control commitments made during the regulatory approval process to combine the companies.”
David C. Benoit announced that he will be retiring at the end of this year after a distinguished 24-year career at Connecticut Water. Benoit will continue to serve as president of Connecticut Water until the effective date of Westbrook’s appointment. He served as chief financial officer and treasurer before becoming president of Connecticut Water in 2017. Thornburg stated, “We are extremely grateful for David’s service to the organization. In addition to his sharp business and financial acumen, he also had a strong ability to lead people, ensuring that employees felt valued and respected and that customers and shareholders were well-served.” Benoit had delayed his planned retirement in order to successfully lead the company through the recently completed combination with SJW Group.
Benoit stated, “I have had the privilege of working with Maureen for nearly a quarter-century. She cares deeply about our 300-plus team members across Connecticut and Maine, and understands it is the men and women on our team who deliver quality water and outstanding service every day. She has effectively led the company’s legislative and regulatory efforts, developing strategies that balance the interests of the company and its customers with other stakeholders, protecting water supplies, and promoting environmental stewardship. Maureen’s selection brings continuity and consistency to company leadership. She can be counted on to support the team and work with stakeholders to deliver the benefits of the combination with SJW Group.”
Westbrook said, “I appreciate the confidence of the board and the leadership team, and I am honored to take on this new role. It is such an exciting time in our company’s history as we join with the SJW Group. I look forward to working with our talented, passionate team of water professionals to deliver on our commitments and to build on our record of service and environmental stewardship.”
About SJW Group
SJW Group (NYSE: SJW) is the third-largest investor-owned pure-play water and wastewater utility, based on rate base, in the United States, providing lifesaving and high-quality water service to nearly 1.5 million people. SJW Group’s locally led and operated water utilities — San Jose Water Company in California; Connecticut Water Company, Avon Water Company and Heritage Village Water Company in Connecticut; Maine Water Company in Maine; and SJWTX Inc. (dba Canyon Lake Water Service Company) in Texas — possess the financial strength, operational expertise and technological innovation to safeguard the environment, deliver outstanding service to customers and provide opportunities to employees. SJW Group remains focused on investing in its operations, remaining actively engaged in its local communities and delivering continued sustainable value to its shareholders. For more information about SJW Group, please visit sjwgroup.com.
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Some of these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as "believes," "expects," "may," "will," "should," "seeks," "approximately," "intends," "plans," "estimates," "projects," "strategy," or "anticipates," or the negative of those words or other comparable terminology.
The accuracy of such statements is subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions including, but not limited to, the following factors: (1) the risk that the benefits expected from the merger of SJW Group and Connecticut Water Service, Inc. (the "Merger") will not be realized; (2) the risk that the integration of Connecticut Water Service, Inc. will be more difficult, time-consuming or expensive than anticipated; (3) the effect of water, utility, environmental and other governmental policies and regulations, including actions concerning rates, authorized return on equity, authorized debt-to-equity ratios, capital expenditures and other decisions; (4) the outcome of the California Public Utilities Commission's investigation into the Merger; (5) litigation, including litigation relating to the Merger; (6) changes in demand for water and other products and services; (7) unanticipated weather conditions and changes in seasonality; (8) climate change and the effects thereof; (9) catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorist acts, physical attacks, cyber-attacks, or other similar occurrences that could adversely affect our facilities, operations, financial condition, results of operations and reputation; (10) unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the Merger; (11) our ability to successfully evaluate investments in new business and growth initiatives; (12) the risk of work stoppages, strikes and other labor-related actions; (13) changes in general economic, political, business and financial market conditions; (14) the ability to obtain financing on favorable terms, which can be affected by various factors, including credit ratings, changes in interest rates, compliance with regulatory requirements, compliance with the terms and conditions of our outstanding indebtedness, and general market and economic conditions; and (15) legislative and economic developments.
Results for a quarter are not indicative of results for a full year due to seasonality and other factors. In addition, actual results are subject to other risks and uncertainties that relate more broadly to our overall business, including those more fully described in our filings with the SEC, including our most recent reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance, and speak only as of the date made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements except as required by law.