Business woman honoured

Heidi Motram OBE

Published on 12 July 2017

The CEO of Northumbrian Water has been recognised by the University.

Heidi Motram OBE is Chief Executive Officer of Northumbrian Water Group, and formerly Managing Director of Northern Rail. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Sunderland.

Mrs Motram received her award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the business community in the North East, and her commitment as a role model in supporting diversity within the field of engineering and environmental sustainability.

She said: “I have the huge privilege of leading a company like Northumbrian Water, and this award is a reflection on what we do together as a team.

“I was the first in my family to go to university and not many from my school had gone either. For me, university was transformational.

“I believe it is critical that universities and their students and graduates remain steadfast as beacons in the constant search for facts and truths. Education is a joy and a pleasure and none of us should ever stop learning and absorbing knowledge all through our lives.”

Heidi Motram’s success at Northumbrian Water Group follows on from an impressive career in the traditionally male-dominated rail industry. As Managing Director of Northern Rail, the largest train operator in the UK, she led a high performing team to deliver multi award winning service, significant rises in passenger satisfaction and volume growth ahead of industry trends. 

She was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours 2009 for services to the rail industry.

She played a leading role in shaping Government thinking in sector as a member of their Green Economy Council; was Chair of the North East CBI Council from 2012 to 2014 and remains a member of CBI national board. 

In 2016, Heidi’s commitment to the community was recognised when she was selected to be the Prince of Wales’ Business Ambassador to the North East, in conjunction with Business in the Community.  In the same year she was also named North East Business Executive of the Year, recognising her significant contribution to business in the North East of England.

The University of Sunderland’s Graduation Ceremonies are estimated to bring £1 million annually to the region and are attended by over 11,000 students, family, friends and supporters.