4 January 2003 - British Energy announced today that Mike Alexander, current chief operating officer at utility Centrica, will succeed Robin Jeffrey as CEO at the troubled nuclear generator. Alexander will step down from the Centrica board at the end of the month to join new chairman Adrian Montague at British Energy.
Commenting on the appointment Montague said, "I am delighted that he has agreed to join us. Mike is a highly regarded senior Director with just the right combination of skills and experience for British Energy at this critical time as we seek to reach agreement on our financial restructuring. He has an exceptional record in driving major organisational change and will bring great value to the business."
Alexander said he was excited about the opportunity to drive the company forward but many will regard the move as a brave one with no certainty that British Energy will avoid administration and with Centrica having established itself as a successful multi-utility operation.
British Energy is in negotiation with its bondholders to agree a deal by 14 February which would secure long term funding to keep the business afloat. A UK government energy White Paper due later this month will not contain any material help for the company, the minister for energy revealed recently. It is expected that a moratorium on new nuclear plant construction will be recommended.
Centrica said that Alexander's responsibilities will be taken over by a number of executive directors.
Mr Alexander is a Chemical Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and, prior to joining British Gas in 1991, spent an extensive period
with BP plc in a variety of policy, commercial, engineering and marketing roles. His engineering background includes design, control, operation and maintenance of major process plant. Within British Gas, he moved from the asset management roles associated with upstream oil and gas production to the trading and marketing activities of the newly liberalised UK energy markets. As Managing
Director of British Gas Trading, he led the transformation from a gas to energy supplier, building the electricity business and was responsible for the creation of the Goldfish Credit Card.