Wallis to return as Powergen chief after German takeover

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Ed Wallis is to step back into the chief executive's job at Powergen when the £5.1bn takeover of the electricity generator by Germany's E.ON is completed this spring.

The surprise move follows the announcement yesterday that Nick Baldwin, Powergen's current chief executive, has decided to quit just 10 months into the job. He was promoted to the post by Mr Wallis, Powergen's chairman, two months before the E.ON deal was agreed last April.

Powergen insisted Mr Baldwin's departure was "amicable" and stemmed from the fact that running the UK division of a large German utility would not be as attractive as heading up a FTSE 100 company.

But industry observers were puzzled as to why he had left it until now to announce his departure unless there had been a boardroom rift. Several other senior Powergen executives have left in the past decade after clashing with Mr Wallis.

On completion of the takeover, E.ON's chief executive Ulrich Hartmann, who is known in Germany as the "Strominator", will become chairman of Powergen. Mr Wallis will also be joint head of a new division responsible for E.ON's expansion into the US market, where Powergen already owns the Kentucky-based electricity company LG&E. Powergen refused to disclose the length of Mr Wallis's contract.

Mr Baldwin is expected to receive a pay-off worth at least £300,000. He will also make paper profits of £1.3m by cashing in share options on completion of the E.ON takeover.