UK energy firm Centrica axes 5,000 jobs on virus impact

Agence France-Presse. London | Published: 15:08, Jun 11,2020 | Updated: 15:10, Jun 11,2020


British domestic energy provider Centrica said Thursday it will axe 5,000 jobs, or almost one fifth of its workforce, as it responds to both the coronavirus pandemic fallout and intense competition.

The owner of British Gas said that the drastic restructuring -- centred on leadership, management and corporate staff -- was partly prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak that sparked ‘difficult’ trading conditions.

Most of the affected roles are expected to be shed in the second half of this year, in the first overhaul unveiled by newly-installed Chief Executive Chris O'Shea.

Centrica has struggled in recent years, shedding half of its revenues as smaller and more competitive energy suppliers have won valuable customers from British Gas.

The need to restructure the company was accelerated by the impact of coronavirus, it added Thursday.

‘Since becoming chief executive almost three months ago, I've focused on navigating the company through the COVID-19 crisis and identifying what needs to change in Centrica,’ O'Shea said in the statement.

‘We've learnt through the crisis that we can be agile and responsive in the most difficult conditions and put our customers at the heart of our decision making.

‘We have great people, strong brands that are trusted by millions and leading market positions, but the harsh reality is that we have lost over half of our earnings in recent years. Now we must bring focus by modernising and simplifying the way we do business.’

O'Shea added that the proposed job losses are ‘designed to arrest our decline, allow us to focus on our customers and create a sustainable company’.

Centrica currently employs more than 26,000 people worldwide.


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