Foundations for success

Tom Mollenkopf IWA President
Tom Mollenkopf, President, IWA Tom Mollenkopf © IWA

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a famous quote by management consultant and writer Peter Drucker. He didn’t mean that strategy was unimportant – rather that a powerful and empowering culture was a firmer route to organisational success.

Another great enabler closely linked to culture is governance. Good governance provides the framework and structure for ethical, effective and efficient action, and while it alone cannot guarantee success, its absence will surely put an organisation at risk.

As IWA President, I am proud of the strong governance structures and culture that underpin our Association. We are pluralistic and genuinely global in character, boasting 62 Governing Members and a presence in 140 countries. The organisation is committed to inclusivity and a merit-based approach. Its leaders, including the President, are elected by the Governing Assembly with the principal goal that they will serve IWA’s best interests and the whole spectrum of IWA’s membership.

Recently, our key constituent bodies met in Bordeaux, France: The Board, its committees, the Strategic Council, and the Governing Assembly. Each of them represents a different part of the governance fabric and engages the various constituencies that make up IWA. An important part of the Governing Assembly was the election of the next IWA President. This took place following a highly transparent and public process that saw high levels of engagement from the Governing Members (our national committees).

I want to take this opportunity to thank each of the candidates for their enthusiasm, commitment and vision, as presented to the Governing Members in a series of online forums and in person. I congratulate Dr Hamanth Kasan, from South Africa, on his election as incoming President. Hamanth now joins the Board as President-elect and will succeed me at the conclusion of the 2024 World Water Congress and Exhibition next August, in Toronto, Canada. I offer best wishes also to Professor Enrique Cabrera who, while unsuccessful on this occasion, remains a leading IWA exponent.

As in many global contests, the candidates may come from different backgrounds or geographies. Once elected, however, IWA officers represent IWA in its entirety.

The IWA Board is proud of the work that has been done over many years, supported by the Governing Members. We are now more globally representative of the regions, languages, cultures and segments that make up the world’s water constituency. IWA does not represent one sector or geography. I can assure you that the Board and I are committed to maintaining that course, broadening and deepening our engagement with all our members, and actively reaching out to those who are not yet part of the IWA family.

With these foundations, we have every reason to be optimistic about our future success.


Tom Mollenkopf, President, IWA