Centrica Plc (CNA)’s power and gas supply chief quit a year into the job in the latest of a spate of management departures at the company as U.K. lawmakers wage a public campaign against rising consumer energy bills.
Chris Weston, head of the downstream business at the U.K.’s biggest energy supplier including British Gas, left to become chief executive officer of Aggreko Plc, Centrica said today. Weston resigned after he lost out to a BP Plc (BP/) director in the battle to replace Centrica’s CEO Sam Laidlaw, the Daily Telegraph said, without citing anyone. The utility declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.
Weston’s departure extends a period of upheaval among senior management, with Centrica yet to name a replacement for Chief Financial Officer Nick Luff, who gave up his post in January. Weston himself had replaced Phil Bentley, who quit last year, while Chairman Roger Carr left to join BAE Systems Plc.
“It’s not good news, as he’s doing a good job, I think, and it’s on top of Nick Luff leaving and, probably, Sam Laidlaw too,” Angelos Anastasiou, an analyst at Whitman Howard in London, said today in an e-mail. “But it’s not disastrous if the change is orderly, as it seems to be.”
Centrica rose 1.7 percent to 336.30 pence at the close in London trading. That’s the highest price in five weeks.
BP’s head of refining and marketing, Iain Conn, was offered the Centrica CEO job, although the appointment isn’t yet agreed on, the Telegraph said. BP spokesman David Nicholas declined to comment, as did Greg Wood, a Centrica spokesman.
Weston, who joined Centrica in 2001 after a career in the telecommunications industry, is expected to take up his new job next year once he completes his commitments at Centrica, Aggreko said in a statement today. Aggreko is a Scotland-based supplier of temporary power generators.
Utilities have been criticized for raising prices faster than inflation, inflaming a political row over living costs. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government last year pledged to make it easier for customers to switch companies, while the Labour opposition vowed to freeze charges if it wins a 2015 election.
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