Our leadership team

The Leadership Team oversees policy implementations, day-to-day management of our people, and the delivery of services to our customers.

Darren Cleary

Managing Director

Darren Cleary was appointed as Managing Director of Hunter Water on 29 April 2020. In his role, Darren leads the Executive Management Team, and is responsible for the management and day-to-day operations of Hunter Water.

Darren has more than 25 years' experience working for utilities in the water sector, including in infrastructure planning, capital delivery and operations.

Prior to being appointed Managing Director, Darren held a number of executive roles at Hunter Water including Chief Investment Officer, Executive Manager of Strategy & Planning and Chief Operating Officer. Darren is also a director of the Committee for the Hunter, a member of the Faculty of Business and Law Advisory Board of the University of Newcastle, the Advisory Board for the Newcastle Institute of Energy & Resources (NIER) and the Utility of Excellence Committee of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA).

Darren holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental) (Honours) from the University of NSW and a Masters of Engineering Management from the University of Technology Sydney.

Laura hails

Executive Manager Governance and Assurance and General Counsel and Company Secretary

Laura has extensive experience in private practice and in-house legal roles, specialising in the construction, transport and infrastructure sectors.

At Hunter Water, Laura oversees the Governance and Assurance Division comprising of legal, governance, risk, audit & assurance, resilience, environment and property & business services.

Laura has a Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Laws/Diploma of Legal Practice (Class I Honours) from the University of Newcastle and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute.

Jennifer Hayes

Executive Manager Finance and Business Performance

Jennifer is responsible for the functions of Finance, Economics, Commercial Procurement, Regulatory Policy, Financial Control and Compliance, Corporate Accounting, Treasury and Business Performance Reporting.

Jennifer’s career expands Executive and Non-Executive positions, in a diverse range of sectors including fast moving consumer goods, primary health, utilities, education and regional development, in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Known for her broad ranging skills and experience leading organisations strategically and operationally, Jennifer has implemented key organisational initiatives to drive positive change and transform the ways employees work.

Currently, Jennifer serves as a member of University Council, Charles Sturt University, Director of Hunter Primary Care, Director of Regional Development Australia (Hunter) and Chair of Cessnock City Council Audit Committee. She is Co-founder of the community foundation, City2City.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), Master of Business (MBA), is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

keiran smith

A/Executive Manager Customer Services

Keiran leads the team responsible for delivering great services to our customers, consumers and the community, ensuring that their experiences are valued at every touchpoint. This includes leading teams responsible for customer service operations, residential and business water efficiency and conservation, revenue services, retail service, development services and customer solutions.

Keiran has over 10 years' experience working in the water sector leading communications, marketing, community education and engagement and corporate public affairs.

Keiran has a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Technology Sydney.

JENNY FRANCIS

Executive Manager Digital

Jenny Francis has over 25 years of experience in IT, strategy, program/project management and business improvement in banking, electricity, transport logistics and the coal industry. A proud Novocastrian, Jenny is passionate about the role Hunter Water plays in making our communities great places to live.

As Executive Manager Digital, Jenny leads a team maintaining and implementing secure and effective information systems in support of Hunter Water service delivery excellence.

Jenny has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from University of Newcastle. Jenny is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Director of the Cooks Hill Surf Club.

EMMA BERRY

Executive Manager Strategy and Engagement

Emma is a water sustainability professional with over 25 years' experience in the water industry. She is passionate about the environment and delivering sustainable outcomes for the community.

As Executive Manager Strategy and Engagement, Emma leads a multi-disciplinary team responsible for strategy development, investment planning and community and stakeholder engagement; to ensure community values are reflected in a resilient and sustainable water future for the region.

Emma has a degree in Environmental Engineering (Hons) and a Master of Business Administration (with distinction) from the University of Newcastle.

Emma is currently an Advisory Board Member on the Vitens Adaptive Pathways Research Program (Netherlands) and a member of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) Liveable Communities Committee.

CLINT THOMSON

Executive Manager Customer Delivery

Clint is responsible for planning, building, operating and maintaining the assets that deliver Hunter Water's services, to enable and improve the quality of life of our customers and communities.

With more than 20 years' experience including over a decade in the water industry, Clint's roles at Hunter Water have included Group Manager System Operations, and Manager Field Maintenance. Prior to joining Hunter Water, Clint served in the Australian Defence Force for more than a decade too, including active service on international operations, engineering leadership roles at sea in the Royal Australian Navy and project management roles ashore.

Along with a mechanical trade, Clint has earned a Bachelor of Engineering with first class honours from RMIT University, a Masters of Engineering Management with distinction from the University of Newcastle, and Diplomas in Business, Government, and Project Management.

Clint is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Non-Executive Director on the Dial Before You Dig NSW/ACT Board.

Ian Pike

Executive Manager People & Culture

Ian leads the People and Culture team that includes human resources, safety health and wellbeing and organisational change capability.

Ian has led the human resources functions of large, complex, organisations in the tertiary education and research sector (University of Newcastle and CSIRO) as well as utilities (Sydney Water Corporation) and a water resource management agency. Ian has also provided specialist executive and professorial search services for the Higher Education sector.

Ian has a Bachelor Applied Science (Environmental Health) and Graduate AICD and is a member of the University of Newcastle Employee Relations / Human Resources Management Programs Advisory Committee.

The Board

We appointed a Board to oversee Hunter Water's policies, management and performance. See some of the dedicated leaders who ensure that our business continues to grow and provide a sustainable water future for our region.