Barber was previously at E&Y for 23 years, latterly as audit partner and leader of the firm's water sector team. Since 2006 she has built up a specialist team to focus on the water industry as well as building relationships with regulators.
She takes up her new role at the £4.5bn water supplier in autumn this year.
“After such a great career at Ernst & Young it has been a difficult decision to leave but I am excited to have been offered this opportunity to work with a company widely regarded as the best in the water industry,” said Barber.
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