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    Centrica, SSE/Innogy Appoint Retail Execs


A BP exec is joining Centrica to head its business retailing arm, while a chairman has been named for its main rival.

by: William Powell

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Centrica, SSE/Innogy Appoint Retail Execs

Two leading UK utilities appointed key executives to their retail arms September 14.

UK dominant retailer Centrica has named Richard Hookway as the successor to Mark Hanafin as a board member and its new head of Centrica Business, which markets to businesses. Hanafin leaves at the end of March 2019 and Hookway joins Centrica and the board November 1. Hanafin will step down from the board on November 30 and Hookway takes up his job December 1.

Hookway is leaving BP after 35 years, latterly as the UK major's group COO for global business services and IT. Prior to this he spent seven years as CFO for BP’s downstream division which includes all B2B and B2C customer-facing businesses, refining and marketing and the profit and loss account for BP’s oil trading activities. Hanafin had said in July he would be retiring.

Centrica group CEO Iain Conn – who also had a career at BP before taking up the top job at Centrica – said Hookway brings 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."

Meanwhile the planned UK joint venture energy retailer that SSE and Innogy hope will launch next year has appointed Martin Read as its chairman-designate. He is chairman of UK logistics firm Wincanton and a former chairman of construction firm Laird, and from 1993 to 1997 was CEO of leading UK IT company Logica. He will step down from certain government advisory positions ahead of taking up his new post October 1 2018.

The planned joint venture had already appointed CEO-designate Katie Bickerstaffe and CFO-designate Gordon Boyd. Last week the UK competition regulator provisionally cleared the new joint venture, but with scant comment on the likely subsequent impact of E.ON's planned takeover of Innogy. SSE/Innogy have slightly fewer retail customers than Centrica but, if E.ON's retail business were added, then the three combined would have a larger customer-count than Centrica.

 The UK regulator CMA is expected to publish its final decision on the planned joint venture by October 22.