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Northern Ireland Water CEO McKenzie Resigns After Supply Crisis

Northern Ireland Water said Chief Executive Officer Laurence MacKenzie resigned from his post at the U.K. province’s water authority after thousands of homes had their supply cut off over Christmas.

“The board has accepted his resignation as CEO and agreed terms of settlement consistent with his contractual entitlement,” the state-owned utility said in a statement on its website late yesterday. “The board is recommending that Trevor Haslett, director of engineering procurement, be appointed as acting CEO and board director.”

The body was criticized by Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson after thousands of homes were left without water from late December until early January when pipes burst following a thaw after cold weather. Robinson said NI Water had been “shambolic.” Emergency supplies of bottled water were donated from the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

NI Water didn’t give terms of McKenzie’s settlement and said it will be ask Northern Ireland’s regional development minister, Conor Murphy, to approve its recommendations. A recruitment process for a permanent CEO will begin when Murphy approves of the interim arrangements, NI Water said.

“This is entirely my own decision,” MacKenzie said in a separate statement on the website. “I believe firmly in the principles of responsibility and accountability, it is for that fundamental reason I have decided to pursue this course of action.”

Northern Ireland media, as well as the British Broadcasting Corp., reported that MacKenzie was paid 250,000 pounds ($388,000) a year.

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