MacKenzie to resign

It is not on line yet but the BBC have just announced that Lawrence MacKenzie the chief executive of NI Water is going to announce his resignation. Presumably Conor Murphy hopes that this resignation will quieten the criticism of his handling of the debacle. It does leave Murphy’s recent claim to have confidence in MacKenzie looking a little foolish. It also brings even further into question his decision to sack the previous board of NI Water at MacKenzie’s behest. On that occasion the DRD’s senior civil servant Paul Priestly was the scapegoat and the rot seemed to stop there: whether Murphy will be so fortunate this time is unclear.

Update: The BBC now have it online.

  • DC

    You’re right Murphy did declare his support for McKenzie very recently.

    All the same his £250,000 a year was clearly a champagne salary, silly money as everyone knows water is flat.

    Next time round, NI Executive should lay off the fizz and try and bring such salaries down and more investment in – come the next recruiting round.

  • The Word

    This might just make it worse, not better, for Conor Murphy.

    With more snow on the way, it might get worse again, with no proper leadership in place. Murphy must be praying for global warming, and not a repeat of the 1963 debacle.

  • Mick Fealty

    Mr MacKenzie has resigned before, and not gone. But if the Beeb has put it out there, then I’d consider it’s hardened since the Irish News put their report out this morning.

    Given he’s made the Minister look so bad, he has few of the escape routes he had last time, when the Board got it in the neck from the Minister instead.

  • Skeg oneill

    I have just heard the same report. I’m sorry that it has come to this. Lawrence MacKenzie has not been in position long enough to make any impact on the old pipework system he inherited.

    Yes, the communication was poor but it is a learning process just like the one NIE had to go through some years back when NI had the boxing day storms. Give the guy a break. I even heard one of his non executive board members, the dreadful O’Mullieor, the other day giving no support and already sticking the knife in on the communication issue. Perhaps O’M should have been in Westland house giving all the benefit of his expertise in that area instead of firing barbed missiles from the radio.

  • Mick Fealty


    You DO NOT fix old piping by cutting investment and jobs, which is what Mr MacKenzie tried to do last year.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Skeg, have been told for years the pipework was on in a critical state and only constant care kept it going, McKenzie stripped that care away and we all paid the price.
    By the Summer we will probably have a new minister, CEO, Chairman and directors, the question is will Murphy put more cronies in place before he goes?

  • pippakin

    Connor Murphy should have known the background and abilities of the replacement directors at NIW. McKenzie may or may not take himself off, I will believe it when I see it. But I don’t believe it lets Murphy off the hook. No one in charge of a company should wave senior personnel through on a heavily blinkered nod.

  • edgeoftheunion

    Funny how this ‘Learning Process’ always involves the Public doing without.

    That said, what were the lessons of NIE’s 2 big Snows in a row? Worth a thread and a bit of research eh?

  • edgeoftheunion

    Fair play to BBCNI for maintaining a decent archive.

  • Given that there are continuing doubts about Mr Murphy’s abilities, and the lack of any worthwhile appraisal of his abilities prior to the upcoming election, perhaps we could make use of the UK wide water Mutual Aid scheme and borrow a Chief Executive and a few experienced non executive directors until later in the year.

  • The best laid plans of mice and men part 2. Mr McKenzie sacked when he should still have been on three weeks’ holiday, with the irony being his return did not expedite resolution of the crisis as evidenced by the failure to make full use of UK wide Mutual Aid; make no mistake it was men on the ground, working 16 and 17 hours a day, which resolved this crisis.

  • edgeoftheunion

    I suppose we can look forward to this level of openness:

  • Pigeon Toes

    Well if they will put people in charge of public services who clearly have less experience and knowledge than their predecessors (with dirty little tricks in the mix), there shouldn’t be really any surprise when it all turns to dust…

    Not always bright to oust the professionals.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “SDLP Assembly member Conall McDevitt said: “Many will question now how long minister Murphy’s position, that he is the only one who is blameless in the long line of disasters to hit his department and its agencies, is really sustainable.”

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Initial speculation indicated that the 49-year-old could walk away from his post with £500,000.”

    Jeez, is he only 49?

  • malairt

    I presume he’ll get what he’s contractually entitled to, which if he resigns is zero. Not going to happen.

    So his contract will be terminated which will mean
    * payment to the end of the contractual term, which I guess could be 3 years? from August 2009, at £250k per year would mean a payout of around £390k
    * Payment of an agreed sum, probably 1 years salary, so £250k. That’s what Katherine Bryan got.
    * no agreed figure in which case MacKenzie sues for unfair dismissal. Oooh I’d like to sit in court for that one!

  • DC

    To walk away with £500,000? You’d think the guy was working in financial services and running a non-hierarchical, for-profit private company? What were the NI Executive thinking in terms of the terms and conditions?

    Anyway, if it were me, I’d be pumping that lump sum straight into silver – it’s doing pretty well – markets for it are bullish despite recent dip over the last day or so, outlook good over medium given sovereign debt and inflation and Euro collapse concerns.

    All the same a very nice golden (or maybe silver) handshake given today’s more financially straitened times.

    Fatcats getting fatter!