SSE appoints new chief financial officer

Barry O'Regan

Perth-based power giant SSE plc announced on Friday that Barry O’Regan will be appointed as its chief financial officer and as an executive director of SSE plc, effective December 1, 2023.  

O’Regan is currently finance director of SSE Renewables as well as having responsibility for corporate finance across the whole of SSE Plc.

Shares of SSE, the biggest listed company run from Scotland, rose about 1.2% to around £18.46 to give the company a stock market value of about £20 billion.

The FTSE 100 firm said the appointment was made “following a competitive recruitment process supported by an external executive search firm.”

“Barry will also join SSE’s group executive committee from the same date,” said SSE.

“Outgoing incumbent finance director Gregor Alexander will step down from the board on the same date, before retiring and leaving SSE at the end of March 2024 after an orderly transition.”

O’Regan trained as a chartered accountant with PWC in Dublin before joining Airtricity in 2005, and subsequently the SSE Group in 2008.

“With nearly 20 years’ experience working in the energy sector, Barry has a wealth of knowledge across financial control, corporate finance and M&A, treasury, reporting and operational finance,” said SSE.

“He also has detailed experience of working with SSE’s credit rating agencies.

“He has been integral to the strategic refocusing of the company over the last decade and has led the execution of many acquisitions and divestments, including SSE’s international expansion, as well as contributing significantly to establishing SSE Renewables and its subsequent strategic progress.

“Gregor Alexander, who joined SSE at its inception in 1998 and has been finance director since 2002, will continue in his positions as chair of SSE Transmission’s board and as a director on the board of Neos Networks Limited, SSE’s joint venture with Infracapital Partners. 

“The transition will also include transferring Gregor’s current responsibilities for SSE’s IT and general counsel teams to the chief executive, and procurement to the chief commercial officer, resulting in Barry holding a more traditional CFO role.”

SSE CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies said: I want to pay tribute to Gregor’s achievements since SSE’s creation and to thank him for the unstinting support and sage advice he’s given me during my time as CEO.  

“He has shown throughout his career huge energy and enthusiasm for the business and particularly all of the people who have contributed to making SSE the success it is today.

“Gregor has made an exceptional contribution to the company and helped steer us through challenging times whilst positioning us for the hugely bright future we have as the UK’s clean energy champion with a growing international footprint.

“I wish him well in retirement knowing that he will undoubtably be contributing to the net zero ambitions of Scotland, the UK and beyond.

“In Barry we have secured a hugely capable successor who has been instrumental in our strategic realignment in the last decade, both corporately and in SSE Renewables.

“Barry has all the financial capabilities and energy value chain knowledge to help propel SSE to new heights as we take forward our Net Zero Acceleration Programme and continue to grow the group, I look forward to working with him more closely on the delivery of the vision for SSE.”

O’Regan said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as SSE’s CFO.

“The opportunities facing SSE are huge and we have a clear strategy, strong capabilities and a firm financial footing from which to take them.

“I am looking forward to working with our colleagues, the leadership team and the board as we build on past successes whilst scaling new heights as we secure more high-quality growth options across the group.”

Alexander said: “It has been an absolute privilege and honour working for SSE over the last 32 years, in a company that has such a strong purpose and heritage driving forward the UK’s net zero ambitions.

“I have enjoyed my time with the company immensely but the time is right to pass onto the next generation of leaders and I am delighted to be handing the baton to Barry to whom I wish every success in the role.

“I would like to thank all the colleagues I have worked closely with over the years but especially my team: my fellow executive directors, Alistair, and Martin; and the board for all their support. I wish them all the very best for the future.”

SSE said O’Regan’s remuneration package will consist of a basic salary, benefits and variable incentive arrangements which are in line with SSE’s remuneration policy. 

Details of both O’Regan’s remuneration package and Alexander’s remuneration arrangements will be published in detail in SSE’s forthcoming Annual Report in June 2023.