All change and no change

All change at SSE as Ian Marchant announced he is quitting his £1 million-a-year job as chief executive at the age of 51 and is to be succeeded by his deputy Alistair Phillips-Davies.

The decision came as a surprise to the City who quickly marked down SSE shares. Marchant’s explanation was that he just needed a change having been in the top job since 2002. It was expected that Phillips-Davies would take over eventually having been appointed deputy chief executive last year.

Media attention focused on his pay off once it was revealed that Marchant was leaving SSE with a giant pension pot and share awards worth up to £15million. Customers’ average bills nearly tripled during his 10 years in charge.

No change at ScottishPower when Iberdrola decided not to dispose of all or part of the company. The expected auction of the transmission and distribution business has been put on hold after the Spanish group decided it had made better than expected progress in a £1.6bn programme of disposals over the past year. Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings – controlled by Li Ka-shing, one of the richest men in Asia – is believed to have approached Iberdrola last summer about buying Scottish Power.

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