Leading water industry trade association British Water has announced the appointment of Chris Loughlin, chief executive of the Pennon Group Plc, which owns both South West Water and waste management company Viridor, as its new chairman as Tony Williams steps down.

Mr Loughlin is a former chairman of Water UK and past president of the Institute of Water. He is on the Board of Trustees for WaterAid and a member of the charity’s audit committee. He is also vice chairman of Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. Mr Loughlin joined the board of British Water as a non-executive director in May 2016.

British Water chief executive Lloyd Martin said: “We are absolutely delighted that Chris Loughlin has agreed to take up the position of chairman of the board at British Water. This is a time of unparalleled change for the UK water industry. Significant shifts in the regulatory landscape and in our economic and trading relationships with our European and global partners can be anticipated. The experience and in-depth knowledge Chris can bring to the role will be invaluable to our members.”

Chartered civil engineer Chris Loughlin was formerly chief operating officer for Lloyd’s Register, executive director of British Nuclear Fuels and executive chairman of Magnox Electric. He has also been a senior diplomat in the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Mr Loughlin commented: “Our members will need to navigate likely changes to environmental regulations and rules governing global trade during a period of considerable economic uncertainty. Building collaborative relationships across the water and environment sector is central to British Water’s aims in the coming months and years.”

Mr Martin also thanked outgoing chairman Tony Williams for his commitment over the 18 months of his tenure, saying his contribution had been exceptional.