Boardroom veteran Martin Read to chair merged SSE-npower entity
SSE and npower parent innogy have appointed Dr Martin Read CBE as chairman-designate for the new independent British energy supply and services company they have agreed to form, the announced on Friday, subject to final regulatory approval.
The two companies said Read’s appointment followed a comprehensive selection process, facilitated by a leading executive search company.
It said he would lead the board of the new company, working closely with chief executive-designate Katie Bickerstaffe, chief financial officer-designate Gordon Boyd, and other recently-appointed members of the executive committee-designate.
Dr read would take up his new role on 1 October and, working with an external executive search company, would lead on recruiting the board for the new business.
Like Bickerstaffe and Boyd, SSE and innogy said Read would have no involvement in the leadership or management of either existing organisation.
Both SSE and innogy said they considered Read to be independent on appointment, as per the requirements of the UK Corporate Governance Code.
Meanwhile, the two firms said work was continuing to plan and prepare for the formation and listing of the new company, which remained on course to take place by the end of the first quarter of 2019, following SSE shareholder approval for the transaction and the appointment of the executive committee designate in July.
The Competition and Markets Authority provisionally cleared the transaction in August, and was due to publish its final decision by 22 October.
SSE said Read was bringing “significant experience” of board-level leadership, including in high-profile, consumer-facing sectors.
He is chairman of Wincanton and the UK Government's Senior Salaries Review Body.
Dr Read would be standing down as chairman of the Low Carbon Contracts Company and of the Electricity Settlements Company on 30 September, and would also step down as chairman of the Remuneration Consultants Group in advance of the anticipated formation and listing of the new company.
He is a former Chairman of Laird, and from 1993 to 2007 was chief executive of international IT services company Logica, where he oversaw a period of major growth and led the merger with CMG in 2002, which doubled the company's then-size.
Read has served as a non-executive director on the boards of Lloyd's, Invensys, Aegis Group, British Airways, Boots, Asda and the UK Government Efficiency and Reform Board.
“We are delighted to appoint Martin as chairman-designate in what is another important milestone on the journey to establishing a new, independent player in the British energy supply and services market,” said SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies.
“Martin's experience from executive and non-executive roles across a range of sectors, including mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings, will be invaluable in establishing the new board and ensuring the business is ready to hit the ground running.
“We continue to believe that the combination of the two companies as an independent player can deliver real benefits to customers and the wider energy market and the appointment of such a high-calibre chairman is further evidence of this.”
Martin Herrman, chief operating officer of retail at innogy, added that since the two companies announced their plans to create a new British retail energy company to combine npower and SSE's British energy supply and services businesses, they had kept on schedule.
“Read's confirmation as chairman-designate, with the impressive experience and credentials he brings to the role, complements the designated board appointments for the new company.
“After the provisional clearance by the CMA, the preparation for the formation and listing of this new British retail energy company achieved another important milestone.”
Dr Martin Read himself said that it was currently a “time of major change” in the energy and services market in Britain, adding that he believed that in forming the new company there was a “unique and exciting” opportunity to challenge the sector and deliver for customers and shareholders.
“I'm delighted to be appointed and look forward to working with Katie, Gordon and the rest of the management team to realise this opportunity.”