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

General Counsel & 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 Business Service and Assurance Division comprising of legal services, governance, audit and assurance, business services and environment.

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

Chief Financial Officer

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.

victor prasad

Executive Manager Customer Strategy and Retail

Victor leads the team responsible for delivering great services to our customers, consumers and the community, ensuring that their experience is valued at every touchpoint. This includes leading the customer service operations, community engagement, water efficiency and drought management, revenue services, retail services and development services teams.

Victor has close to 20 years’ experience working in the water and energy sector leading project delivery, program management, service delivery, community and stakeholder relations, service transformation and customer experience.

Victor has a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from the University of Canterbury (NZ) and a Post Grad Diploma in Project Management from Deakin University.


Chief Information and Technology Officer

Jenny Francis was appointed as Chief Information and Technology Officer on 9 November 2020. Jenny 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 recent addition to the team, Jenny is passionate about the role Hunter Water plays in making our communities great places to live.

As Chief Information and Technology Officer, Jenny leads a team maintaining and implementing secure and effective information systems in support of Hunter Water service delivery excellence.

A proud Novocastrian, Jenny has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from University of Newcastle and is Director of the Cooks Hill Surf Club.


Chief Investment Officer

Emma is a water sustainability professional with over 20 years' experience in the water industry. She is passionate about delivering sustainable outcomes for the region.

As Chief Investment Officer, Emma leads a multi-disciplinary team responsible for strategy development, investment planning, science and innovation, as well as the delivery of a sustainable infrastructure program; to ensure a resilient and sustainable water future for our region.

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

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


Executive Manager Service Delivery for Customers

Clint has more than 20 years of experience in complex assets and infrastructure; approaching 10 years in the water industry, and almost 14 years in Defence. Clint's experience at Hunter Water includes roles such as Group Manager System Operations, and Manager Field Maintenance. Prior to joining Hunter Water, Clint served within the Australian Defence Force, including active service on international operations, in 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.

Ian Pike

Head of People and Culture

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

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