New Centrica CEO Iain Conn. Image courtesy of GovernmentZA/Youtube.

Ex-BP downstream CEO Iain Conn has been tapped to lead UK utility company Centrica.

The appointment follows weeks of speculation that Conn would replace current Centrica CEO Sam Laidlaw.

Laidlaw will retire from Centrica’s board on December 31, 2014, Centrica said Tuesday.

The 51-year old Conn will take the reigns on January 1, 2015.

Conn will earn a base salary of US$1.567 million (£925,000).

He is also eligible for a performance-based share incentive award equal to one times base salary in April 2016 and equal to two times base salary in April 2017 and released in April 2018.

The entire pay package could be worth US$ 6.27 million (£3.7 million).

Conn will also become Chairman of the Executive and Disclosure Committees and a member of the Corporate Responsibility Committee at Centrica.

Centrica released a profit warning in May and said group profits would be 10 percent below market expectations.

Centrica is also facing political hardships.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is currently investigating the whole British supply sector, including Centrica, after regulators voiced concerns about opaque pricing and noncompetitive retail markets.

The London-based Conn worked at BP for 29 years, serving on the board for the past 10 years and as CEO of downstream for the past seven.

He joined BP Oil International in 1986, working in a variety of roles in oil trading, commercial refining and exploration before becoming vice president of BP Amoco Exploration’s mid-continent business unit in 1999.

In 2002, Conn was appointed CEO of BP Petrochemicals.

Current COO for refining and marketing Tufan Erginbilgic will take over as BP downstream CEO on October 1, 2014.


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