Wilfrid Petrie is to step down from his position as the chief executive of Engie UK and Ireland from next month.

Petrie will remain with Engie, which employs 17,000 people in the UK, to take up a new position on the group’s Paris-based executive committee where he will also lead the development of the B2B client solutions business in France.

The outgoing chief executive joined the Engie group in 1999 and is a graduate from the Ecole Polytechnique of France. He has held various management positions in France, the United States and in the UK prior to his present role.

Nicola Lovett, who has worked at Engie since 2013, will succeed Petrie as chief executive of the UK arm of Engie and will take up the role on 1 May.

Petrie, who has been CEO since 2013, said: “It has been a great pleasure to be the UK chief executive where we have repositioned the business to better serve our customers across our key markets.

“In the UK, Engie has evolved significantly in recent years, developing expertise and capabilities in order to adapt to the future needs of clients.

“Nicola will be a strong leader – she has the experience and qualities to lead this organisation through its next phase of growth, continuing to deliver solutions for clients and success for the business.”

Writing for Utility Week in a CEO view column last year Petrie said the utilities industry has often been perceived as “part of the problem rather than part of the solution” during the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

“To drive positive change in our sector, I believe a number of new models need to be implemented, often requiring new partnerships to leverage the huge market opportunities ahead of us”, he added.

Lovett has held several executive roles, most recently as divisional chief executive for business energy and services, where she led on delivering customer-led solutions and technologies to thousands of UK businesses.

Prior to this, she held senior positions at both Balfour Beatty and Serco.

Speaking of her appointment she said: “I’m delighted to be taking up the role of Engie’s chief executive for the UK and Ireland.

“We have a clearly defined strategy in integrated client solutions and flexible and renewable energy, delivering outcomes for both business and local authority customers that enable them to balance their performance with responsibility.

“I look forward to helping our customers in the transition towards a more decentralised, increasingly digital, zero carbon economy.

“Our focus on improving people’s lives through better living and working environments remains unchanged.”

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