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Board appointment

No-deal Brexit civil servant takes chair at SSE

Sir John Manzoni: new chair

Energy company SSE has appointed a former top civil servant involved in preparing for a no-deal Brexit to succeed Richard Gillingwater as chairman of the board.

Sir John Manzoni, who also held senior roles in the oil and gas industry, will take on the role on 1 April 2021, following the previously disclosed, time-limited extension to Mr Gillingwater’s tenure.

Sir John will join the board as non-executive director from 1 September and work closely with Mr Gillingwater to ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities.

The appointment follows a comprehensive, independent recruitment process supported by the executive search firm Sam Allen Associates.

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Sir John’s career included spells with BP and Talisman Energy before spending six years as chief executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office, where he was responsible for the administrative and commercial performance of government departments and oversaw preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

He stepped down from the civil service earlier in the summer, and in April he was appointed non-executive director at Diageo, effective from 1 October.  He was a non-executive director of SABMiller from 2004 to 2015, and chairman of Leyshon Energy from 2013 to 2014.

Mr Gillingwater joined the board as non-executive director in 2007 and was appointed deputy chairman in January 2015 before becoming chairman in July 2015.

During his tenure, he has overseen a fundamental reshaping of the SSE group that leaves it well positioned to deliver on its purpose-led strategy, focusing on low-carbon assets and infrastructure and delivery of the transition to net zero emissions.

Sir John said: “SSE is uniquely placed to lead the green economic recovery and to deliver value for shareholders and society through the transition to net zero emissions.”

Mr Gillingwater said: “It has been a privilege to lead the SSE board for the past five years and I am proud of the progress that’s been made to refocus the business around its core purpose during that time.”

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