Liv Garfield, CEO, Severn Trent has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award. As the recipient of the longest-standing award for women in business globally, Liv follows in the footsteps of some of the most outstanding female business leaders – from Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop to leading architect Dame Zaha Hadid CBE.
Since 1972, the awards have honoured women impacting different aspects of business today and celebrates those who share the same qualities as Madame Clicquot, an original trailblazer: her enterprising spirit, her courage and the determination necessary to accomplish her business goals.
As the FTSE 100’s youngest ever female CEO, Liv heads up Severn Trent, the Midlands-based water utilities company which serves more than 8 million people.
The judging panel outlined Liv’s strong customer-focused approach and business acumen as two reasons as to why she won the award. Since taking the role in 2014, Liv has shepherded strong growth for the water company. Not only is it strongly outperforming the rest of the sector, she has also helped forge a customer-focused culture in the company, reflected in its outperforming challenging targets set by customers themselves. However, it was this commitment to customers combined with a responsible business that made her stand out.
In Liv’s words, she is a “working mum of two kids” and through her focus on championing diversity, inclusion and engagement she has become a strong voice in a number of areas that are often ignored, such as menopause-specific training and support for those with terminal illness. She has ensured that Severn Trent was named in the first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index, the only water company to be included. This is alongside Severn Trent’s mean gender pay reporting of 2.4%.
Liv said: “This is an incredible honour, not only because I remember taking a huge amount of inspiration from some of the previous winners of this award but also because of the awesome story of Madame Clicquot herself, who was a strong role model at a time when women in business were almost unheard of. I truly am delighted but also a little humbled, I wouldn’t have been able to win this award without the help and support of absolutely everyone at Severn Trent, so this is as much a win for them as it is for me.”
Julie Nollet, Marketing & Communication Director, Moët Hennessy UK, said: “Our winners exhibit many of the core values that Madame Clicquot had when she began her journey into business. Each woman comes from a diverse sector but what unites them is their commitment to empowering women.”
The award’s high-profile judging panel is comprised of business leaders from various industries, including, Caroline Michel, CEO of Peters, Frasers & Dunlop, Ruth Rogers, Co-founder of RiverCafé, Matthew Gwyther, BBC Radio 4, In Business presenter, Vanessa Kingori, Publisher of British Vogue, and Moira Benigson, Founder of MBS Group.