Outgoing Sydney Metro boss Jon Lamonte to head NZ water utility

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday March 2, 2021

dam spanning a river in Auckland, which Jon Lamonte now oversees
Watercare expects to deliver an $8b capital program over the next 10 years. (Image: Andrew/Adobe)

Outgoing Sydney Metro chief executive Dr Jon Lamonte has been named head of Auckland’s water supplier, Watercare.

Watercare announced the appointment on Monday, just three days after the New South Wales government announced that Lamonte would be stepping down.

Jon Lamonte

Margaret Devlin, chair of Watercare, said a comprehensive recruitment process had been undertaken to find the new chief executive, with Lamonte to begin in the role on April 6.

“I am delighted that Jon will be joining the team. He brings a wealth of experience to the role not just from his time with Sydney Metro but from his extensive executive career,” she said.

“The board and I look forward to working with Jon as we embark upon the next stage of the water utility’s journey, which includes the delivery of an $8b capital programme over the next ten years, the response to the ongoing drought, and the national water reform programme.”

Lamonte said he was excited to “forge a new life in Auckland” and drive the organisation forward.

Read more: Sydney Metro boss to depart as questions are raised over Staples’ termination

Last week NSW transport minister Andrew Constance announced that Lamonte would be leaving Sydney Metro “to pursue an alternate career path overseas”.

“Dr Lamonte has had an important role over the past 2.5 years stewarding the NSW government’s Sydney Metro program — the largest public transport program in Australia,” he said.

“With the Metro North West Line opening in 2019, Sydney Metro City and Southwest due to open in 2024 and construction of Sydney Metro West and Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport commencing last year, Dr Lamonte has left an indelible mark on Greater Sydney. For that, I say thank you.”

Deputy chief executive Rebecca McPhee will act in the role until an appointment is made.

Lamonte will pocket a salary of $585,000 in his new role. Watercare said this was in line with council policy, that requires chief executive salaries across council-controlled organisations to be set lower than previous incumbents and the council CEO.

Devlin said that there may be a period of time where Lamonte will carry out his role while offshore, due to COVID-19.

“We are working with Jon to minimise this period. And as COVID-19 has taught us all, we can and do adapt to situations such as these,” she said.

“Once Jon arrives in New Zealand, we will be arranging a number of meetings for stakeholders to meet with him.”

Lamonte’s past roles include chief executive for transport for Greater Manchester, maintaining and upgrading London’s Underground as CEO for Tube Lines Ltd, and serving in the Royal Air Force.

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