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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 19:07 GMT
British Gas owner gets new boss
British Gas workman
British Gas profits fell last year as wholesale prices rose
Centrica, the company which owns British Gas, has recruited a senior oil executive to become its new boss.

Sam Laidlaw will succeed Sir Roy Gardner, Centrica's chief executive since 1997, who announced his intention to step down last year.

Mr Laidlaw is currently a senior figure at US oil giant Chevron, having previously worked at energy firms Enterprise Oil and Amerada Hess.

Centrica is one of the UK's largest firms, with sales of 13.4bn last year.

It made a profit of 1.3bn in 2005 despite a fall in returns from British Gas due to rising wholesale gas prices

'Proven record'

It emerged last month that Gazprom, the state-owned Russian energy firm, was considering making a bid for the British business.

However, Centrica revealed it had not received any approach.

Centrica said Mr Laidlaw, who will take up the job in July, would be paid a basic annual salary of 850,000.

Chairman Roger Carr said Mr Laidlaw offered "an invaluable combination of upstream experience, a very considerable reputation for managing a large-scale global energy business and a proven record of creating shareholder value".

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