SSE has appointed Sir John Manzoni as its new chair of the board, bringing “hugely valuable” experience in both the public and private sectors.
He has been chief executive of the Civil Service and permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office over the past six years, working on the administrative and commercial performance of government departments, including overseeing preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
Prior to this, Sir John held senior executive roles within BP where he was chief executive of Refining and Marketing for five years, and Canadian oil and gas company Talisman Energy.
He is set to take over from Richard Gillingwater as chair of the SSE Board from April 2021.
Sir John Manzoni said: “I’m delighted to take on this new role and to succeed Richard as chair. With a strong, purpose-led management team, clear strategic focus and a pipeline of low-carbon investment opportunities, SSE is uniquely placed to lead the green economic recovery and to deliver value for shareholders and society through the transition to net zero emissions.
"I’m looking forward to leading the Board and working with the executive team to realise SSE’s vision of being a leading energy company in a net zero world.”
He will join the Board as non-executive director from 1 September 2020, allowing him to work closely with Gillingwater to ensure a smooth transition the company said.
Gillingwater said that Sir John had been chosen for the role after a “comprehensive and rigorous selection process”.
“As well as having had a very successful executive career in energy, his recent experience within the public sector will provide a hugely valuable perspective as SSE seeks to work with government, regulators and other stakeholders to deliver on the net zero transition,” he continued.
“It has been a privilege to lead the SSE Board for the past five years and I am proud of the progress that’s been made to refocus the business around its core purpose during that time. I look forward to working with Sir John to ensure a smooth transition during the coming months and wish him and the rest of the business every success.”
In the company’s recent full year results for 2019/20, it argued it had recovered from a difficult year previously thanks in part to the sale of its retail arm to OVO Energy. This allowed its adjusted operating profit to soar 37% year-on-year to £1,488.4 million.
As part of its results, it announced plans to spend £7 billion on major low carbon infrastructure projects over the next five years, to both support net zero ambitions and the post-COVID-19 recovery.