Leadership in Challenging Times: The Energy Sector

Just 2 days supply…that’s how much gas the UK has left after cold weather and interrupted imports reduced reserves by 90%. Britain used to meet all its demand from the North Sea, but dwindling reserves mean it’s now much more import reliant. The UK’s storage capacity hasn’t caught up yet, so the UK gets repeatedly squeezed in the winter. Centrica has just signed a long term gas supply deal with a US firm that begins in 2018.

I asked Centrica’s Chairman, Sir Roger Carr, how important he thinks US gas will be to Britain’s supplies from 2020 onward and about guiding a company and a board through an industry in crisis.

Every year when Centrica releases its annual results, it seems that Centrica is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If it gives good results for investors (this year it had a 5% rise in earnings), the company is accused of cheating the man and woman on the streets and vilified by politicians and the public alike. If it doesn’t have good returns, the company will be accused of being a poor steward of the company’s finances. It is the fate, I suppose, of companies with a public service mandate.

I wanted to know how the company deals with that dichotomy of expectations. The answer Sir Roger gave is clear and concise.

This video is from the tv series I host for Reuters In the Boardroom with Lucy Marcus.

Date

27 March 2013

Leadership in Challenging Times: The Energy Sector

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