Direct Energy Laying Off 54, British Parent Company Selling O&G Assets, CEO Stepping Down

July 30, 2019

The parent company of Direct Energy, England-based Centrica, is getting out of the oil and gas business and its CEO is quitting.

Ian Conn announced on Tuesday he’ll be stepping down and retiring from the company’s board next year at its annual shareholder meeting, while setting in motion a year of changes for the company, which also owns European E&P Spirit Energy.

Centrica has said Spirit is not one of its “core assets.”

The company also announced Tuesday that it’s cutting 54 employees at Direct Energy’s Houston offices and is also cutting its dividend by 58%.

Direct Energy has about a 10% share of the direct retail energy market in Texas.

Conn became CEO four years ago and the company is now worth about one-quarter its worth when he took over, having lost more than a million customers, according to the BBC.

The year so far hasn’t been good for Centrica either so Conn has introduced a rather severe cost-cutting program that includes asset sales.

It’s British Gas subsidiary posted losses for the first half, cutting shareholder payouts

The parent company said it took a pretax charge of about $426 million in the first half.

Partly because of the plunge in near-term natural gas prices, this included £257m of restructuring costs,$312 million one-time pension costs and asset writedowns of more than $100 million.