SSE’S Ian Marchant to step down

The boss of one of the UK’s biggest energy companies announced plans to quit the business today after more than ten years at the helm.

Ian Marchant, who joined Perth-based SSE in 1998 when it was formed out of the merger of Southern Electric and Scottish Hydro Electric, will be replaced by his deputy Alistair Philips-Davies in July.

SSE, which has around ten million customer accounts and is the UK’s second-largest generator of electricity, is one of just five mainstays of the FTSE 100 index to have delivered better-than-inflation dividend growth every year since 1999.

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Chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin said Marchant had given exemplary service as chief executive, a role held since 2002.

He added: “He has been a chief executive of the highest standard, giving outstanding leadership to SSE and to the energy sector as a whole.”

Marchant, who joined SSE’s predecessor company Southern Electric in 1992, said he believed the time was right for a change for both himself and SSE: “I am looking forward to new challenges – whatever they may be.”

SSE shares were more than 3 per cent lower after the announcement, although some of this decline was due to the shares trading today without the right to the latest dividend.