My Power Struggle; Your Gas Bills Are about to Surge by [Pounds Sterling]180 a Year Unless Britain Can Break Europe's Energy Monopolies, Warns Centrica Finance Chief Phil Bentley, Who Has the Top Job in His Sights THE INTERVIEW

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), October 23, 2005 | Go to article overview

My Power Struggle; Your Gas Bills Are about to Surge by [Pounds Sterling]180 a Year Unless Britain Can Break Europe's Energy Monopolies, Warns Centrica Finance Chief Phil Bentley, Who Has the Top Job in His Sights THE INTERVIEW


Byline: LUCINDA KEMENY

All white teeth and perfect hair, Phil Bentley, finance director of Centrica, strides across the room with hand outstretched.

If he realises just how prickly he is perceived to be by the City, it certainly doesn't show. His apparently brusque manner, so at odds with that of predecessor Mark Clare, has left a slightly sour taste in the mouths of many analysts.

But five years into the job, the 46-year-old Oxford graduate has reached the defining moment in his career. Chief executive Sir Roy Gardner has announced his intention to leave next year to take up the chairmanship at catering group Compass, and Bentley is a serious contender to replace him. From now on, charm could be Bentley's middle name.

Then again, his bruising image might be largely undeserved. While his early years in the job coinbycided with Centrica, owner of British Gas, at its peak, the latter years have been characterised by a City audience left wondering whether the company has an independent future. Not to mention angry customers fed-up with paying everhigher bills.

Neither problem was of Bentley's making. Gardner was the architect of the multi-utility strategy that led Centrica into marketing everything from financial products to car breakdown services. And it was also his idea to spend [pounds sterling]1.2 billion on acquiring ten million customers in North America by 2003.

One by one, the ambitious plans were revised and businesses sold off - credit card Goldfish in 2003, the AA in 2004 and finally OneTel, which is expected to go the end of the year. The Carphone Warehouse and BSkyB are among potential bidders. And as for those ten million American customers, Centrica is barely halfway there.

But when the City has put pointed questions about whether the disposals have left the company vulnerable to a takeover by Russia's Gazprom or Gaz de France, Bentley has been left facing the flak.

'We are a better business for being focused,' he says. 'We needed to be because our competitors are more focused. It is a big boys' game. The markets have become more global - and size matters.' Though Centrica is still small on the global stage, with businesses in Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and North America, the company's international reach has given it the muscle to tackle the controversial issue of rising gas prices. It's a situation where Bentley has become Centrica's frontman.

He gained a global business perspective during 15 years working in the international operations of BP, and in January his role at Centrica was extended to encompass its European activities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

My Power Struggle; Your Gas Bills Are about to Surge by [Pounds Sterling]180 a Year Unless Britain Can Break Europe's Energy Monopolies, Warns Centrica Finance Chief Phil Bentley, Who Has the Top Job in His Sights THE INTERVIEW
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.