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Centrica welcomes BP exec at 'interesting time' for distributed energy business

Image: Centrica.

Image: Centrica.

Centrica has appointed former BP CFO Richard Hookway chief executive of its business division, where he will head up the company’s distributed energy and power (DE&P) activities in the UK as part of his responsibilities.

Hookway will take over the position on 1 December from Mark Hanafin following a handover period after which Hanafin will step down from the board to make way for his replacement.

Having spent 35 years at BP, most recently serving as the group chief operating officer for global business services and IT, Centrica has said Hookway brings with him a “very broad experience” across a number of fields.

As CFO for BP’s downstream division, he oversaw all B2B and B2C customer-facing businesses as well as the company’s oil trading activities. Hookway has also held a senior commercial role in the commercial and industrial marketing business for Europe, including accountability for BP’s internal power developer and provider of energy management services.

Iain Conn, group chief executive for Centrica, said: “I am delighted that Richard is joining Centrica as chief executive of Centrica Business. He brings with him a wealth of experience in customer-facing energy activities, including in energy marketing and trading and commodity risk management. He has spent much of his career in the UK and Europe, but has also lived in North America and knows that energy market well.”

He joins at an important time for Centrica, with market uncertainty across its entire business making 2018 a difficult year for the energy giant. In July it reported a 4% slide in adjusted operating profit to £782 million for the first six months of the year, with Conn stating in June that slow regulatory change combined with political and societal pressures had created “a tough backdrop”.

Such concerns led the company to announce in February that 4,000 employees would lose their jobs following “weak” performance in 2017.

However, DE&P and connected home business units are facing a period of high activity despite the issues faced by other areas of Centrica’s business. The company reported in July that its order book soared by around 47% year-on-year after its various activities were united under the Centrica Business Solutions brand; it now expects a 40% increase in DE&P revenues before the year’s end.

Hookway, who joins with a base salary of £600,000 plus benefits, incentives and 20% pension contributions, will be tasked with continuing this growth.

“I am excited to be joining Centrica at this interesting time as the energy sector continues to transform,” he said.

“Centrica Business is focused on meeting the changing needs of business customers across the globe as energy becomes more decentralised, cleaner and technologically driven. I look forward to working with Iain, the board and the Centrica Business team to lead the business through the next phase of its transformation.”

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