Evans to quit at British Gas

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The Independent Online
BRITISH Gas is likely to come under pressure to appoint an outside chairman after Robert Evans said yesterday that he would not seek reappointment when his term of office expires next year, writes Mary Fagan.

There is a growing view in the City that new blood is required to bring an end to a long series of damaging battles between British Gas and the regulator, Ofgas.

The company requested a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission last year when it failed to resolve key issues concerning the future of the company with Ofgas. It is widely known that Mr Evans did not see eye-to-eye with the director-general of Ofgas, Sir James McKinnon. One analyst said that both Mr Evans and other directors must be regarded as culpable for allowing the company to sink into a regulatory mess.

British Gas has said that piecemeal regulation by both Ofgas and the Office of Fair Trading had become a serious problem and that it was felt necessary to resort to the MMC.

At the British Gas annual meeting yesterday, Mr Evans said regulators should be more accountable and open. 'I believe that it is now time to look at good governance within the regulatory bodies as well as companies. The issue of who regulates the regulator is now firmly on the public agenda,' he said.