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October 31, 2019

Following merger, CT Water names first female president

Photo | Contributed Maureen P. Westbrook is Connecticut Water Service's first female president.

After winning a nearly two-year battle for state regulatory approval of a $1.1 billion merger, Connecticut Water Service has named a new leader.

Maureen P. Westbrook, vice president of customer and regulatory affairs since 2008 and with the company for nearly 30 years, will succeed David C. Benoit as president effective Dec. 1. 

Westbrook will be the first female president at the Clinton-based company, which is now owned by SJW Water of California and serves a number of communities in Greater Hartford and around the state.

Benoit had served as interim and permanent CEO starting in 2017, and was previously chief financial officer. He has worked at Connecticut Water for 24 years.

SJW said Benoit had delayed his retirement plans in order to shepherd Connecticut Water through the recently closed merger.

In a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing earlier this year, the company said if Benoit had retired on Dec. 31, 2018, he would have been owed $3.3 million in retirement benefits, equity awards and other compensation. He earned $1.6 million in total compensation last year, according to an SEC filing. 

Westbrook will lead SJW’s Connecticut water utilities, which also include Avon Water and Heritage Village, while Rick Knowlton will continue as president of Maine Water.

“Maureen is uniquely qualified to fill this role given her 30 years of experience leading the customer service, communication and regulatory affairs efforts at Connecticut Water and her passion for serving customers and employees,” SJW CEO Eric W. Thornburg said in a statement. “She is highly respected in the water industry and has established strong working relationships with regulators and officials at both the state and national levels.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect deal value for the Connecticut Water-SJW merger. It was $1.1 billion.

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