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Business Analysis & Features

The business on...Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive, EDF


Don't tell me, those nasty energy firms are at it again!

Well, that nasty energy company.

Vincent de Rivaz' operation has seen customer complaints soar by a staggering 91 per cent. Consumer Focus, which compiled the data, wins today's prize for statin' the bleedin' obvious by calling that "unacceptable".

So who can save us?

Perhaps Mr de Rivaz can. The 57-year-old has boasted that he's always been a "man of action" who likes to get things done. Well his customers don't need him to be climbing any mountains (he hails from the French Alps) they'd just like a half-decent service, thanks very much.

Can he deliver?

Well that depends. Mr de Rivaz is not exactly shy and retiring. He claims he has a steely determination and he's not for "flip-flopping". That sounds almost like "the lady's not for turning" by a certain previous Tory Prime Minister. Well he's quite pleased about the Tories' enthusiasm for nuclear power and has said there needs to a change in Britain's energy landscape.

Not that he's fond of woolly business speak or anything?

Yes. Apparently we Britons have an appetite for a diverse mix of energy in which nuclear has a key role. It might help if, amid all the big picture stuff, he realised we also have a strong appetite for companies that don't simply dump on us from a great height.

You'd best stop being mean. There are spies everywhere!

You'd be referring to the the conviction last month of senior EDF executives in a French court for spying on Greenpeace. Don't worry. Mr de Rivaz has promised that sort of thing hasn't happened here. And he's told Chris Huhne too. So that's alright then.