Kerr’s new role at ScottishPower as Iberdrola sees shares slide

LORD Kerr of Kinlochard has been appointed to the newly-created role of vice-chairman at ScottishPower, the Glasgow-based utility group owned by Spain’s Iberdrola.

A member of the advisory board set up after the acquisition by Iberdrola in 2007, John Kerr has worked with ScottishPower throughout its life under foreign ownership. A career diplomat, he also holds appointments at a number of other companies.

Ignacio Galan, chairman and chief executive of ScottishPower, described the new vice-chairman’s role as an “important position”. He added Kerr’s leadership and insight had been “highly valued” during the past five years.

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“Iberdrola is a global organisation and we understand the importance of local management,” Galan added after directors approved the appointment at a meeting yesterday.

Kerr, who grew up in Hillhead and attended Glasgow Academy, was formerly permanent under-secretary of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has also served as head of the diplomatic service and was subsequently secretary general of the European Convention.

He is currently deputy chairman and senior independent director at Shell and is also a director of Rio Tinto and the Scottish American Investment Trust.

News of his appointment came as shares in Iberdrola tumbled yesterday after its main investor, construction company ACS, sold a 3.7 per cent stake.

The move is a reversal of strategy by ACS, which has spent nearly three years building its holding in Iberdrola in an effort to diversify away from Spain’s ailing construction sector. ACS, led by Real Madrid football club president Florentino Perez, is left with about 14.9 per cent of Iberdrola’s stock, but plans to further cut its debts by selling non-strategic assets.