Ex-Network Rail boss to head Centrica
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Rick Haythornthwaite, a former chairman of Network Rail who was criticised for allegedly presiding over a "gravy train" of executive pay excess at the infrastructure company, has been given the chairman's role at Centrica, the owner of British Gas.
The current chairman, Sir Roger Carr, who was at the forefront of attacks on Ed Miliband over the Labour leader's promise to freeze energy bills, is standing down and will be replaced at the end of the year.
Haythornthwaite will join the board of Centrica as a non-executive director on 14 October and will succeed Carr at the turn of the year. He has already been handed a job on the remuneration committee which decides pay levels for the top team.
No salary has been disclosed for the new chairman, although Carr took home pounds 490,000 last year.
Executive pay is one of a number of issues that have badly tarnished the reputation of the wider energy supply sector.
Centrica came under fire in March for sharing out a pounds 16.4m pay pot among senior management including chief executive Sam Laidlaw, who took home almost pounds 5m last year at a time when consumer bills soared after a cold winter.
Carr praised Haythornthwaite, saying he held a wide range of skills of use to his new company. "He brings invaluable industry experience from his time at BP, a deep knowledge of consumer relations from MasterCard and a proven record of government and regulatory body engagement from Network Rail," said Carr.
In return Haythornthwaite said he felt privileged to succeed Carr and work for a company which was "so relevant not only to its customers, employees and shareholders but also to the broader societies that it serves".
The Oxford-educated executive, who himself earned pounds 250,000 a year for a two-day week at Network Rail, clashed with the government and union leaders in the summer of 2010 when he approved a pounds 2.4m bonus pot for the top six directors.
He said his critics were "ill-informed" but the then transport secretary, Philip Hammond, said he was very disappointed and called for a far-reaching review of pay. Rail union leader Gerry Doherty accused him of living in cloud cuckoo land and told him to "halt the gravy train".
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]