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Drax CEO to step down

Power giant Drax has announced that its CEO, Dorothy Thompson, will step down from her post after 12 years in the role.

The company’s current finance chief Will Gardiner will succeed Thompson who will step down from the post and leave the group at the end of 2017.

Drax chairman, Philip Cox, said: "We are delighted Will is to become Chief Executive. He has been a key architect of our new strategy and is a focused, innovative and engaging leader. His appointment is a natural progression after two years working alongside Dorothy developing an ambitious strategy which I am confident will create significant benefits for all Drax's stakeholders.

"On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Dorothy for her enormous contribution to Drax. She transformed the business during her tenure and leaves the Group in a strong position with a clear strategy that lays the foundations for further success in a changing energy sector."

Gardiner added: "I am thrilled to be appointed as Group Chief Executive at this exciting time for Drax. The changes we are seeing in the UK energy sector are unprecedented and we have an opportunity to thrive while doing the right thing for the UK energy market. Drax's people have demonstrated repeatedly their ability to deliver transformational change and I'm delighted to be working with them to build on Dorothy's strong legacy."

Thompson said: "Drax Group plays a strategic role in the UK electricity sector generating around 16% of UK renewable electricity, is a world leader in the production of wood pellets and is a leading challenger brand in the supply of electricity to businesses. I retire knowing the Group is in excellent shape: it has the right strategy, the right team and in Will, the right leader."

The company recently announced that it is speeding up plans to convert its units to gas.

Under pressure from government plans to close all coal plants by 2025, Drax has increasingly turned to burning compressed wood pellets, or biomass.

The company will begin the process of appointing a new chief financial officer and will also review the option of making an appointment on an interim basis.

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