Last year Centrica conducted a strategic review and concluded that we are first and foremost a customer-facing energy and services company. Our focus must be to satisfy the changing needs of our customers. Those needs are changing rapidly and in similar ways around the world. This creates opportunities for us to organise our energy and services businesses around the residential end-customer and business customer, and to do things in a common way in the UK, Ireland and North America.
Therefore, from April 2016 British Gas will no longer operate through the three businesses British Gas Residential, British Gas Services and British Gas Business. We will create two new Business Units (BUs), UK Home and UK Business, having already created a similar structure in North America. By bringing together all of the teams focused around our customer segments we will be able to deliver what customers really want - excellent products and services which respond to customer needs and are competitively priced. These UK BUs will operate mainly under the British Gas brand. In response to the growing demand for innovative offerings in both segments, our newly formed Connected Home and Distributed Energy & Power units will also sell through UK Home and UK Business to our residential and business customers.
The UK Home BU will be very significant in scale, with over 22 million customer accounts. It will be led by Sarwjit Sambhi who has been at Centrica for nearly 15 years in a variety of roles including in Group strategy, Power Generation, and most recently as Managing Director of our Exploration and Production (E&P) business. He has a deep knowledge of the energy sector and a passion for taking our customer-facing businesses to the next level of performance. The new UK Home BU is key to the Group’s success. Establishing the new unit will require strong leadership, a strong focus on the customer and on the efficiency of our operations, and management of change across a large number of dimensions. Sarwjit has an excellent track record of leading such change, and is able to lead the UK Home business into its next phase. Sarwjit will report to Mark Hodges, Group Executive Director and Chief Executive, Energy Supply & Services, UK and Ireland.
Our Exploration & Production (E&P) business also remains important to the Group, providing diversity to Centrica’s portfolio and cash flows, so enabling the Group to manage the volatility and risk associated with our commitments to our customer base. Centrica is an experienced producer of oil and gas and one of the largest producers of natural gas in the UK. Following Sarwjit's appointment to UK Home, E&P will be led by Chris Cox who joins Centrica from BG Group where, until early 2015, he was EVP BG Advance responsible for all technical functions, capital projects, well delivery, IT and reserves. A Petroleum Engineer, he brings over 30 years' experience in the global oil and gas business which also includes North Sea operating roles at Chevron and Amerada Hess. In challenging times for the E&P industry, Chris is well-placed to lead the transformation of the business to a scale and strength which is optimal for Centrica, in line with our strategy announced last year. Chris will join the Centrica Executive Committee and report to Mark Hanafin, Group Executive Director and Chief Executive, Energy Production, Trading & Distributed Energy.
A key part of Centrica's future will focus on developing and delivering new technology-based products, offerings and solutions to residential and business customers. Our customers want more control over their energy, the ability to use less energy, to lower its carbon content, and to receive new services for their homes and businesses. Building on the base capability across the Group, and further to the recent acquisitions of AlertMe and Panoramic Power, Charles Cameron has joined Centrica as Group Director for Technology and Engineering. In this role Charles will oversee Centrica's approach to both technology development and engineering; including assessing our technology pipeline, product development and partnerships and ensuring we have the right capabilities and resource allocation. Charles joins from BP where he was head of Research and Technology for BP's downstream businesses. Charles is a career-long technologist, working previously for IFP Axens. Charles is a member of Centrica's Executive Committee and reports to Iain Conn, Group Chief Executive.
Iain Conn, Centrica Chief Executive said:
“With great brands, products and innovative offerings Centrica is very well-positioned to meet the changing needs of our customers. Repositioning our customer-facing businesses around our principal customer segments is a fundamental and important step. We are also focused on giving those customers access to new products and technologies such as HIVE and distributed energy offerings. We are taking steps to increase the efficiency of the company materially, and working to strengthen our E&P business in the face of weak commodity prices. Such changes require strong leadership and I am confident that Sarwjit, Chris and Charles will help us to achieve our full potential".