The chief executive of Northern Ireland Water has resigned after thousands of homes were left without water, the company has confirmed.
Laurence MacKenzie had been under increasing pressure after December's big freeze produced massive numbers of burst pipes.
Damning criticism of Northern Ireland Water (NIW) performance by members of the Stormont Executive fuelled calls for Mr MacKenzie's resignation.
Mr MacKenzie held the £250,000-a-year post since 2009 and his decision to step aside came after the board of NIW met to discuss the Christmas chaos.
Mr MacKenzie said: "I readily accept and recognise that there were aspects of the way in which we handled the situation that could have been better.
"In particular our ability to communicate with our customers and let them know the reasons for and the times at which they were going to be taken off supply.
"This failing added to the considerable inconvenience experienced by our customers; for that I apologise sincerely both personally and on behalf of the organisation."
A spokeswoman for Northern Ireland Water said: "The Board of Northern Ireland Water has announced that the company's chief executive, Laurence MacKenzie, on his own initiative, has tendered his resignation.
"Following discussion, the board has accepted his resignation as CEO and agreed terms of settlement consistent with his contractual entitlement.
"Accordingly the board is making a recommendation to the Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, that he approves the settlement terms proposed by the board."
His resignation becomes effective from January 7.
The board has recommended that Trevor Haslett, the firm's director of engineering procurement, be appointed as acting chief executive and board director of NIW.
Once these arrangements are in place the board will begin a recruitment process to appoint a new chief.