United Utilities chief executive to quit

Analyists predict that United could become a bit target for private equity groups

Chief executive of United Utilities Philip Green is understood to be leaving the company this week with a severance package worth £4m, reports the Guardian.

Green will make a formal announcement of his plans at the company's half-year results announcement this week, according to the report.

Green was given the mandate of selling "non-core" assets and transforming the Warrington-based company - which had become unpopular with City investors due to its conglomerate like nature - into a "profitable pure water play," within five years.

The package was part of an incentive plan negotiated between the two parties, when Green joined United Utilities in 2005.

During his time at United Utilities, Green sold off the company's electricity distribution business in the northern England in a £1.5bn deal and returned the capital to shareholders.

Green also sold off over six "peripheral" businesses which included a telecommunications company, a gas pipeline network and shares of a Philippine-based water company.

Analysts speculate that United could become a bid target for private equity groups following Green's departure.