Our Board Members

Terry Lawler

Terry Lawler AO | Chair


Terry Lawler was appointed as Chairman of Hunter Water Corporation on 1 January 2012. Mr Lawler is also Chair of Life Without Barriers Limited and Chair of Ampcontrol Group. Mr Lawler is also a Director of Powerdown Australia Pty Limited and peoplefusion Pty Limited. Mr Lawler has previously been the Chairman of National Rail Corporation Limited, Newcastle Knights Limited and a Director of Newcastle Port Corporation
Ruth Lavery

Ruth Lavery


Ruth Lavery was appointed as a Director on 23 June 2014. Ms Lavery has a finance and economics background. Ruth is a member of the inaugural Consumer Challenge Panel of the Australian Energy Regulator, advising on consumer perspectives on electricity and gas network regulatory proposals, and served as Trustee of the NSW Government's Responsible Gambling Fund. With many years at a senior level at the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and extensive experience in private sector infrastructure investment and business management, she brings to the Board expertise in economic regulation, efficient business practices and financial analysis.

Grahame Clarke

Grahame Clarke

BAppSc MEngSc

Grahame Clarke was appointed as a Director on 23 June 2014. Mr Clarke has extensive experience in the functions and administration of local and state government in New South Wales. Grahame has worked throughout regional NSW including roles at Hastings Shire Council and Shoalhaven City Council specialising in the regulation of the environmental health, building and planning functions of local government.  He was employed by the NSW Department of Public Works and Services, in the delivery of the then NSW Government's Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Scheme program for New South Wales which included training treatment plant operators.  During this time Mr Clarke developed an in depth working knowledge of water supply and sewerage systems operated by local Government Councils. He also worked for the NSW Environment Protection Authority from 1993 to 2013 which included 7 years as the Regional Manager for the Hunter Region.   

Christine Feldmanis

Christine Feldmanis


Christine Feldmanis was appointed as a Director of Hunter Water on 8 September 2016. Ms Feldmanis has more than 30 years of experience in the financial arena, spanning both the government and private sectors. She has extensive experience in investment management, finance, accounting and risk management, legal & regulatory compliance, governance and business building, in both the listed and unlisted financial products markets. Ms Feldmanis formerly held senior executive positions with firms including Deloitte, Elders Finance, Bankers Trust, NSW TCorp and Treasury Group.  She was previously an independent non-executive director of Delta Electricity from 2012 until 2016, chairing the Audit & Risk, and Environment, Workplace, Health & Safety Committees. She is currently a non-executive director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committees of Perpetual Equities Investment Company Ltd (ASX: PIC), non-executive director of Netball NSW, and Chair of Bell Asset Management Ltd.

 Michelle Vanzella

Michelle Vanzella

BEc LIb (Hons) MBA

Michelle Vanzella was appointed as a Director on 15 March 2018. Ms Vanzella has an extensive combination of customer, marketing, digital, data and commercial legal skills built up across multiple industries including technology, retail, property and financial services. Michelle practiced Corporate & Commercial Law at Allens and has held senior executive positions with iconic Australian brands including Westfield, Suncorp and AAMI. She was previously an independent non-executive director of Canteen Australia and Chair of the People and Performance Committee. She is currently a non-executive director at Abbotsleigh School and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Michelle brings to the Board expertise in strategic growth and innovation, customer strategy and analytics, consumer marketing and public brand management and the application of existing and emerging technologies to business growth.

 Rod Harrison

Rod Harrison

BComm UoN Dr of Business (Honours Causa) UoN 

Dr Rod Harrison was appointed a Director on 15 March 2018.

Dr Harrison has over 40 years experience in Industrial Relations. Based in Newcastle he has been involved in the Shipbuilding, Ship Repair, Major Civil and Mechanical Construction and  held senior roles at a Regional, State and National level in the Australian Coal Industry with operational and Policy responsibilities  including oversight and coordination of the Hunter valley Coal Chain, Industry Representative to the United Nations agencies IMO and UNCTAD Committee on Shipping. In 28 years as Judicial Officer Dr Harrison held a dual commission as Deputy President of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission and the Fair Work Commission and an Occasional appointment to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission and is widely recognised for innovative and collaborative approach to workplace improvement. Dr Harrison was the inaugural Chair of the University of Newcastle Human Resources, Employment Relations and Management Industry Advisory Group. He was  a member of the Establishment Board of the University of Newcastle Foundation, Chair of an Advisory Committee to the Newcastle Knights Ltd and works with Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors.

 Jayne Drinkwater

Jayne Drinkwater

BEc MBA (With merit) GAICD CAHRI

Jayne Drinkwater was appointed as a Director on 21 February 2019. She is also a Non Executive Director of Greater Bank, Greater Charitable Foundation and CBHS Corporate Health. Ms Drinkwater has extensive experience as a Senior Executive in the financial services and banking sectors across operations, IT, customer service and marketing. She was previously employed as Interim CEO New Zealand, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer at nib Health Funds. Prior experience includes senior roles with Citibank, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ. 

Ms Drinkwater is an experienced Non Executive Director and Committee Chair and is currently a member of the Greater Bank Board Audit Committee, Board Risk Committee, Remuneration Committee, Succession Planning Committee and Greater Investment Services. Prior experience includes Non Executive Director of the Newcastle Anglican Church Corporation, Hunter Economic Development Corporation, Hunter Sporting Venues Authority, Trustees of Church Property Anglican Diocese of Newcastle and Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College.

 Jim Bentley

Darren Cleary | Acting Chief Executive Officer 


As Hunter Water's Acting Chief Executive Officer, Darren's responsibilities include:

  • Accountability for operational safety 
  • Providing leadership to employees and the executive
  • Facilitating the development and delivering Hunter Water's strategic vision and direction
  • Overseeing operating activities, capital programs and projects
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks 
  • Managing Hunter Water's relationships with its stakeholders. These include regulators (IPART and NSW EPA), state and federal governments, members of parliament, community and special interest groups, industry bodies, unions and suppliers.
Darren was appointed as Acting Chief Executive Officer from 2 March 2020.  Darren also heads our Drought Response and Water Resilience Teams.