British Gas owner Centrica to slash 5,000 jobs in turnaround plan

11th June 2020 | Residential Energy

The boss of British Gas owner Centrica has set the company on a new path as he announced the loss of 5,000 jobs at the energy giant this year. Chris O’Shea said he regretted the “difficult decision” that had to be taken as he tried to slim down the ailing company. More than half of the job losses will come from the business’s leadership roles, as Centrica revealed it would strip out three layers of middle managers, in a bid a cut bureaucracy.

Mr O’Shea said, “I truly regret that these difficult decisions will have to be made and understand the impact on the colleagues who will leave us. I believe that our complex business model hinders the delivery or our strategy and inhibits the relentless focus I want to give to our customers. However the changes we are proposing to make are designed to arrest our decline, allow us to focus on our customers and create a sustainable company.”

British Gas

The GMB union vowed to fight the cuts, with spokesman Justin Bowden saying, “A combination of the (energy prices) cap and too little, too late management decisions have left a once proud brand crippled and weak. Slashing thousands more jobs is not the answer. You cannot just cut your way out of a crisis. GMB will fight for every single job.”

Although it is still by far the biggest energy supplier in Britain, British Gas has been squeezed by increased competition in recent years. The company has lost around half its earning in the past decade, as smaller suppliers chipped away at its market share, from a quarter in 2013 to 19% today.

The rise of smaller suppliers was capped off last year when Ovo Energy, which was founded in 2009, bought SSE. Last month Ovo announced that it would axe 2,600 roles at the combined business, as the coronavirus pandemic speeded up its restructuring plans. Much the same has happened at Centrica, where the need to restructure and find a new path forward has been accelerated by the crisis.

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