Long-serving Watercare chief executive Mark Ford is stepping down today for health reasons.
Board chairman David Clark said in a statement it was a sad day for the council water company.
"Since Mark was first appointed chief executive in 1994, Auckland's water and wastewater infrastructure has become significantly more robust and resilient; able to cope with the demands of a growing population and increasingly strict environmental standards.
"Mark has an exceptional knowledge of the water industry and under his stewardship the company has become recognised globally as an example of best practice in the provision of water supply and wastewater services," Mr Clarke said.
Mr Ford has led Watercare since 1994 apart from an 18-month stint heading the agency that set up the Super City structure.
He was the first chairman of Auckland Transport and was appointed by the Government to chair Solid Energy. He retired from that role in March this year for health reasons.
Mr Clarke said Mr Ford's legacy includes many complex and significant projects including:
• The $500-million upgrade of the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant and associated restoration of Manukau Harbour wetlands and surrounds
• The commissioning of the Waikato River water pipeline and treatment plant along with resolution of complex resource consent and tangata whenua issues
• The $120-million construction of a high-capacity tunnel and pump station to replace an aging sewer pipe that bisected Hobson Bay and a pump station that overflowed during wet weather
• The transformation from a bulk water supply company to an integrated bulk and retail service provider for all of Auckland
• The delivery of a $116-million project to connect the townships of Franklin to the metropolitan supply, overcoming long-standing quality and supply issues.
"Many of the projects that Watercare undertakes are large and complex, and involve significant investment. The company and Mark can take much pride in having successfully delivered such projects on time and within budget, a record due in no small part to the importance he attached to fostering strong relationships between Watercare and iwi.
"Under Mark's leadership, Watercare has matured and now holds assets worth $8.4 billion and supplies services to more than 1.4 million Aucklanders."
"His many services to Auckland and the country, some of which he fulfilled without receiving personal recompense, are well known," Mr Clarke said.
Mayor Len Brown recorded his appreciation of Mr Ford's many years of service to Auckland, including securing safe and reliable water supplies, overseeing the implementation of the new Auckland Council, and serving as Chair of Auckland Transport.
"He has played a hugely important part in ensuring the well-being of Aucklanders."
Raveen Jaduram will continue in the role of acting chief executive until the board appoints a successor to Mr Ford.