Centrica (LON: CNA) has announced the appointment of its new chief financial officer, alongside a trading update suggesting earnings will exceed the top end of analyst estimates.
The London-listed energy firm said announced that Russell O’Brien will take on the role of group CFO and executive director on 1 March 2023.
He joins the group following a series of robust results which prompted the launch of its first share buyback programme since 2014, and the reopening of the UK’s largest gas storage facility at Rough.
Kate Ringrose will step down from her position as CFO and director on 28 February 2023, and is expected to leave the company “towards the end of 2023” after an orderly transition, it said.
Mr O’Brien’s most recent role was as group treasurer at Shell, a position he held until late 2021. Prior to this he held a number of senior CFO roles within the global supermajor.
A qualified management accountant, he graduated from St. Andrews university in 1995.
He said he was “honoured” to be appointed.
“The energy transition is happening now, and I’m excited by the opportunities which we have. I am looking forward to working with our 20,000 colleagues, the leadership team and the Board and to being a part of shaping the future for the Company,” he added.
Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea said he was “delighted” to secure “someone of Russell’s calibre” for the role.
“In his long-standing role as group treasurer at Shell, Russell was instrumental in delivering shareholder value and setting a clear financial framework for investors.
“Russell’s broad experience across the energy value chain, including roles as global CFO for both Shell’s Integrated Gas and Retail businesses, will be a huge asset to Centrica as we look to accelerate the creation of shareholder value whilst helping decarbonise the energy system,” he said.
He also paid tribute to Ms Ringrose, who he said has made “a significant contribution to the company” and helped guide the group through “a challenging external landscape.”
Earnings surpass forecasts
Meanwhile, Centrica also issued a brief trading update ahead of its Q4 results announcement next month, in which it reported “strong operational performance” since its last update in November.
Centrica said it expects 2022 full-year adjusted earnings per share above 30p – well surpassing analyst forecasts made last year, which expected earnings of between 15.1p to 26.0p.
It also reported steady cash generation and expects 2022 closing net cash to be “above £1 billion.”
In its November update the Centrica said it would buy back 5% of its issued share capital – equal to around £250 million – over the following month as part of its first such programme since 2014.
Later that month it confirmed it had safely filled the Rough gas storage facility, hitting its 30 billion cubic feet of gas target for the Southern North Sea site.