British Gas owner to cut 5,000 jobs in major restructuring plan

The owner of British Gas has said it will cut 5,000 jobs as part of a major restructuring plan to turn around the company.

Centrica says half of its 40-strong senior leadership team will step down by the end of August – and it also plans to strip out three layers of management to slimline the business.

In total, about 50% of the jobs lost will be in its corporate, management or leadership teams.

The group employs 26,000 people globally with nearly 80% of its workforce based in the UK.

The country’s largest household energy supplier has been bleeding household accounts in a market that has faced increased competition to the dominance of the ‘big six’ firms.

The biggest companies – including E.ON, EDF, ScottishPower and npower – were most affected by the government’s introduction of a cap on so-called standard variable electricity and gas charges.

Consequently, shares in the London-listed company have fallen to levels not seen since 1997 after it disclosed a 35% fall in annual profits earlier this year.

Chris O’Shea, who become Centrica’s chief executive in April this year said its “complex business model” prevented the company from growing.

He said: “I truly regret that these difficult decisions will have to be made and understand the impact on the colleagues who will leave us.

“However, the changes we are proposing to make are designed to arrest our decline, allow us to focus on our customers and create a sustainable company.”

The GMB Union, representing a large number of British Gas employees, said the company was trying to shed jobs to solve a “crisis of its own historical making.”

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said: “A combination of the SVT cap and too little too late management decisions have left a once proud brand crippled and weak.

“Slashing thousands more jobs is not the answer. You cannot just cut your way out of a crisis.”

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