SSE announces Katie Bickerstaffe as Executive Chair of SSE Energy Services

– UK, Perth –  SSE plc (LON: SSE), has appointed Katie Bickerstaffe as Executive Chair of SSE Energy Services, one of the largest household energy and services providers in Great Britain.

Katie will take up the new role on 23 June 2019 alongside Gordon Boyd, who joins as Interim Chief Financial Officer, with a mandate to deliver a new future for the business outside of the SSE group and continue progress towards a listing or new, alternative ownership by the second half of 2020.

She will form a new, dedicated SSE Energy Services Board, which is expected to have both executive and non-executive representation from the SSE group, as well as an independent non-executive director. The business will, therefore, be able to operate with greater day-to-day autonomy and independence, while still being subject to oversight by the SSE plc Board while it remains within the group.

Katie and Gordon will work closely with Stephen Forbes and Tony Keeling, who, having run the business since 2017 as Co-Heads, are confirmed as Managing Directors and will join the new Board as well as being key members of a new Executive Committee. Their priority will be to ensure the business has the strongest possible track record as it approaches a future outside the group.

Since its notification of close period update on 28 March, SSE has also held further positive discussions with third parties about the provision of collateral and trading facilities for SSE Energy Services. Such a deal would further increase SSE Energy Services’ independence from the SSE group by enabling it to trade and operate on a standalone basis as required. It currently relies on the SSE group’s credit rating and procures energy through SSE’s Energy Portfolio Management division.

SSE Energy Services has today reported a reduction in profit due to its decision to absorb some of the impact of higher wholesale prices for customers in 2018, the effect of the default tariff cap from January to March 2019, and lower customer numbers.

However, unlike many competitors, it remains profitable and cashflow positive. It also continues to perform strongly on a range of key customer service metrics, ranking second of 34 suppliers in the Citizens Advice energy supplier performance league table.

Katie Bickerstaffe, Executive Chair of SSE Energy Services, said: “This is a business with huge potential. With a strong customer service track record, a unique product mix and a great team in place, it has all the raw materials to overcome the challenges facing the sector. The steps being taken to increase the independence and autonomy of the business will, in the short term, enable it to strengthen its focus on customers, respond with greater agility in a fast-moving market, and deliver the progress that will underpin a future outside the SSE group.

“The leadership team is clearly committed to its plan to turn this business around to unlock its potential for customers, employees, and shareholders, and I believe it is well positioned to meet the evolving needs of customers as the energy sector transitions to a smarter, cleaner future.”

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE plc, said: “Over the past 18 months, we’ve made significant progress in terms of physical, legal and structural separation of SSE Energy Services from the rest of the SSE group. At the same time, the business has performed well operationally. The steps we’re now taking through Katie’s appointment, the creation of a new dedicated board and a potential deal for the provision of independent collateral and trading facilities mean SSE Energy Services could operate on a standalone basis and will therefore be well prepared for a future outside the SSE group. We will continue to take account of the interests of customers, employees, and shareholders as we seek to deliver that future.”

About Katie Bickerstaffe, Executive Chair

Katie was a non-executive director of SSE plc from 2011 to 2018 when she stepped down from the SSE Board to become Chief Executive Designate of the merged company SSE planned to create by combining SSE Energy Services with npower, until December 2018. She was an Executive Director of Dixons Carphone plc from its formation in 2014 to 2018, having joined Dixons in 2008, and was Chief Executive, UK and Ireland for the business from 2015. She has other substantive and diverse retail experience gained with Kwik Save, Somerfield, Dyson, PepsiCo, and Unilever, and has been a Non-Executive Director of Marks and Spencer since May 2018.

About Gordon Boyd, Interim Chief Financial Officer

Gordon has significant experience both in the energy sector and in major listed companies, acquired over more than 30 years. He originally joined the energy sector in 1989 and went on to hold a variety of senior finance leadership positions at utilities including British Energy and EDF Energy, as well as overseeing the initial public offerings of both Drax and Infinis.

About Stephen Forbes, Managing Director

Stephen joined SSE in 2000, after eight years as a chartered accountant specialising in corporate finance, including a spell at Deloitte. He has held senior leadership roles in almost every part of the retail business and has recently been responsible for all household consumer-facing business areas in GB, including energy, telecoms, and home services. He has been Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Head of SSE Energy Services since 2017.

About Tony Keeling, Managing Director

Tony has worked in the energy sector since the mid-1990s, directly employed in industry and also as part of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ utilities consulting practice. He joined SSE plc in 2000, initially to help drive the integration of the newly merged Southern Electric and Scottish Hydro Electric, and later the acquisition and integration of Swalec. Tony has held senior roles including leading SSE group IT, metering, and the smart metering programme, and has led and been accountable for SSE’s consistently market-leading customer service performance. He became Chief Operating Officer and Co-Head of SSE Energy Services in 2017.

For more information:

- DisclaimerNews, data, and statements included in this release are intended exclusively for general information purposes. Talent4Boards does not guarantee that news is accurate or about the correct person and accepts neither liability for the consequences of the reader’s reliance, nor responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Nothing in this release should be considered for decisions about referred securities. Products and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.