Surprise as British Energy appoints Hollins

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The Independent Online
British Energy, the privatised nuclear generator, surprised its shareholders yesterday by appointing a little-known former ICI manager as its new chief executive.

He is Peter Hollins (right), 50, who for the past five years has been a board director of the Brussels-based European Vinyls Corporation, a joint venture between ICI and Enichem. Mr Hollins will join British Energy in February and will be based in its Edinburgh office.

The appointment follows the abrupt departure of Robert Hawley, the previous chief executive, in July. Mr Hawley quit the post with a pounds 450,000 payoff after being told he would not replace John Robb as chairman when he retired in 1999.

A British Energy spokeswoman said Mr Hollins had been picked for his "extensive business experience with major organisations and track record for strategic change." Between 1989 and 1992 he was general manager of ICI's resins business.

The company declined to reveal whether his salary would match the pounds 225,000 paid to Mr Hawley.

Big shareholders in British Energy were surprised at the appointment. "He is pretty much unknown, but if he has the right pattern of skills and experience, then he should do the job well," said one institution.

British Energy shares fell 2p to 413p.

- Chris Godsmark