British Gas chief to leave Centrica with £15m pension

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The Independent Online

The outgoing British Gas head Phil Bentley will leave its parent company, Centrica, with shares, rights to long-term incentive bonuses and a pension pot worth an estimated £15m, it has emerged.

Centrica said 54-year-old Mr Bentley would be entitled to retire in four years with an annual pension of £225,000, equating to £4.5m over 20 years, as it formally confirmed his departure.

Mr Bentley will also leave with 2 million Centrica shares he has accrued during his 12 years at British Gas, valued at about £6.5m at last night's closing price.

Furthermore, he will be entitled to some of the payouts from his long-term incentive bonus plans, which are expected to be valued in the "low millions of pounds".

The scale of Mr Bentley's riches intensified the hostility towards Centrica, coming as the group revealed an 11 per cent jump in profits at British Gas's residential supply arm.

The division, which sells gas and electricity to 12 million British households, recorded a £606m profit for 2012, weeks after pushing bills up by 6 per cent to record levels. Mr Bentley, who will be replaced by Centrica's United States retail gas head, Chris Weston, said he was retiring because he wants to be a chief executive and there is no sign of that job coming up at the group.

His departure comes after rumours that he had fallen out with Centrica's chief executive, Sam Laidlaw.