Tuesday 17 March 2020 9:44 am

Centrica faces board shake-up as chief executive steps down

British Gas owner Centrica is facing fresh chaos as its chairman resigned on medical grounds and its boss is leaving without a permanent successor.

Centrica said its chairman, Charles Berry, who has been on medical leave since 12 February had tendered his resignation with immediate effect. Berry, who has chaired the group for just a year, is stepping down following advice from doctors to reduce his workload.

Chief executive Iain Conn, who agreed to resign last summer, will step down with immediate effect. Finance boss Chris O’Shea will become interim chief executive “while the search for a permanent chief executive continues.”

Scott Wheway, who has been a non-executive director of Centrica since 2016, will take over as chairman immediately. He has been acting chairman since Berry took medical leave.

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“I’m acutely aware that I’m taking this role at a time when we need to navigate our way through the current volatility caused by the impact of Coronavirus. Protecting our employees and customers is a priority for us, particularly those who are vulnerable,” Wheway said.

“As a business we remain focused on structural simplification, improving our efficiency and delivering growth in our customer-facing business.”

Wheway said the search for a new chief will start immediately, and said interim O’Shea has a “strong track record of cost efficiency and financial discipline”.

Earlier this year the British Gas owner reported a £1.1bn loss before tax today as it suffered from the implementation of new energy tariff cap for UK households and lower commodities prices.

Shares in Centrica fell 8.8 per cent on the news.

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