Perth-based energy giant SSE and innogy SE said they appointed Dixons Carphone executive Katie Bickerstaffe to be CEO designate of the new independent British energy supply and services company that they have agreed to form.
Bickerstaffe will step down from her position as a non-executive director of SSE on April 30, 2018.
SSE said in November it agreed to demerge its household energy and services business in Great Britain with Innogy subsidiary Npower to form a new listed UK company.
The combination, if allowed, would create the UK’s second largest energy supplier. The merger is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Bickerstaffe has been an executive director of Dixons Carphone plc since it was formed in 2014 and has been Chief Executive, UK and Ireland for the business since 2015, having joined Dixons in 2008 and been a member of its board since 2012.
Bickerstaffe also worked with Kwik Save, Somerfield, Dyson, PepsiCo and Unilever.
SSE CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Katie has excellent credentials in retail, extensive experience of organisational change and recent insight derived from merging two companies into one.
“She will therefore bring to the role of chief executive a strong customer focus and enormous capacity to unlock the great potential that exists in combining the experience and insight of two established players with the focus and agility of a new, independent company.
“Having served on the board of SSE she also has excellent insight into the challenges and opportunities of the retail energy market in Great Britain.
“Her appointment is another important milestone and reinforces the commitment from both SSE and innogy to completing the transaction and setting the new company up for success.”
Martin Hermann, Chief Operating Officer Retail, innogy, said: “We are right on schedule with our preparations for the new combined retail company.
“And our decision as to who will take up the CEO position is a really positive sign of the progress we are making. Katie has outstanding experience in retail and she knows the particular challenges the British energy business presents.
“She knows how to lead a truly customer-focused company that satisfies customers, employees and shareholders. These are the most vital elements needed to make a long-term success of the new company we plan to set up.”
Bickerstaffe said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead this new energy supply and services company at a time when the sector is undergoing an exciting transformation.
“There is a great opportunity to create a more agile, innovative and efficient company that really delivers for customers.
“Over the coming months, I want to listen to as many customers, employees and other stakeholders as possible to make sure this new company has the values, strategy and focus that customers need now and in the future.
“As we plan the new company, every decision we make must be about doing the right thing for all our stakeholders.”