Shares in Britain’s biggest energy supplier fell by almost a fifth yesterday after it cut its dividend, revealed a sharp drop in profits and announced the departure of Iain Conn as chief executive. Mr Conn said that he had “agreed with the board” of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, that he would go after next year’s annual meeting, but that the company’s strategy was unchanged. Yesterday Mr Conn said that he remained convinced in his strategy to focus Centrica on its customer-facing business and that the board agreed. He said that the company now planned to make £1 billion of annual cost savings by 2022, on top of £1 billion already delivered, with the intention to make it the cheapest supplier in the market. He confirmed there would be “material job impacts” and that it would incur £1.25 billion in restructuring charges. Justin Bowden, national secretary of the GMB union, said: “You cannot just cut your way out of crisis. More of the same — more job cuts on top of the thousands already gone and going — are panic measures, not a credible plan for recovery. There must be a pause under a new CEO, investment and a new plan for growth.” Yesterday’s results were affected by outages at nuclear plants, warm weather and low wholesale gas prices. Mr Conn said that it had been an “exceptionally challenging” first half.
Times 31st July 2019 read more »
Centrica, the owner of energy supply giant British Gas, is to quit oil and gas production and switch its chief executive, as it struggles to maintain its share price and refocus its business on low carbon opportunities. Iain Conn announced today he would step down as chief executive and retire next year, after the firm reported a statutory pre-tax loss of £446m for the first six months of the year. The interim dividend for shareholders was cut in half in response, to 1.5 pence per share.
Business Green 30th July 2019 read more »
BBC 30th July 2019 read more »
Conn’s strategy given cold shoulder by Centrica investors. However, the shareholder exodus has not just been driven by a series of weak results or even the near-60 per cent dividend cut, but by a strategy that has left investors pondering just where growth is going to come from.
FT 31st July 2019 read more »
British Gas owner Centrica revealed a further £1bn cost-cutting push as it slashed its dividend, pledged to sell its energy production business and parted ways with chief executive Iain Conn. Mr Conn, who joined from BP as chief executive in January 2015, denied that he was pushed out by the board after overseeing a share price decline of almost two-thirds as the company haemorrhaged customers and slashed about 10,000 jobs on his watch. “It wasn’t that the board suggested and I agreed. We agreed together,” he said, adding that it was a “natural time” for him to depart. The company said it expected him to stay on at least until next year’s annual shareholder meeting to oversee a change in strategy while a successor is identified.
Telegraph 30th July 2019 read more »