Don Correll, United Water CEO

Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Staff Writer

Nearly a quarter century after joining the company and less than six months after directing its sale, Donald Correll is resigning as chief executive of United Water Resources.

The major water provider for Bergen and Hudson counties said Monday that Correll, 50, will take advantage of an early retirement program and step down as CEO effective Jan. 1 but remain as chairman.

Jean Michel Brault, president and chief operating officer since July, will serve as acting CEO until a replacement is found.

Brault moved into the executive suite in July after the completion of UWR's $1.02 billion sale to Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, the world's largest water and wastewater services provider.

Correll said the retirement probably would be temporary.

"My wife tells me she's not ready to have me home full-time," he said. "I'm going to catch my breath, to take some time to look at other opportunities -- in the private sector, in the public sector."

He said all UWR employees age 50 or over with 15 years' experience had the option of taking early retirement after the sale to Suez was completed, and that it made sense for him to do so now.

The sale made UWR a wholly owned subsidiary of the French company, but Correll's replacement will be from this country, Brault said.

"We are fully committed to finding an American CEO to lead our business," he said. "Our parent company . . . firmly believes that we should embrace the cultures of the countries in which we operate."

Correll has been given credit for UWR's dramatic growth from a small North Jersey company to a major provider of water and wastewater services to more than 9 million people in North America.

Much of the growth came through public-private partnerships, starting in Hoboken in 1994. Based on its success there, UWR won a contract in 1996 to operate the Jersey City system, and that led to contracts in Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Texas, and Gary, Ind.

Correll joined UWR in 1976 as assistant treasurer. He became treasurer in 1983, CFO in 1986, senior vice president in 1988, and president in 1991.

The Franklin Lakes resident took on the responsibilities of CEO a year later and was named to replace Robert A. Gerber as chairman in 1994. He held all three positions until 1996, when he stepped down as president.

UWR was founded in 1869 as the Hackensack Water Co.