British Gas IT chief promoted to global Centrica role

David Bickerton has been appointed global chief information officer at Centrica. Most recently CIO at Centrica subsidiary British Gas, Bickerton will...

David Bickerton has been appointed global chief information officer (CIO) at Centrica. Most recently CIO at Centrica subsidiary British Gas, Bickerton will be responsible for developing and delivering an integrated IT strategy across the group.

"I am very much looking forward to the challenge of identifying appropriate integration opportunities while supporting the individual businesses, and we have a strong team who will continue to work hard to improve and develop our businesses," Bickerton said.

"This year and 2011 will be busy and exciting years for the Centrica group as we work together to grow British Gas, deliver value from our upstream investments, develop our North American business and drive financial return," he added.

Bickerton joined the utilities giant in 2004 from Fujitsu. During his tenure as British Gas CIO, he rebuilt the firm's IT department from scratch after severing ties with its key IT supplier Accenture in a highly-publicised legal battle over a billing system.

After taking the company's IT in-house, Bickerton's team comprises more than 600 employees, who have delivered around 180 projects in 2009 in connection to the billing platform. The plan is to hire an additional 100 staff this year.

"Nobody knows our business and systems like our own people, and it is that approach that helped us make that kind of progress," Bickerton told Computer Weekly in an interview earlier this year.

The previous CIO at Centrica was Gareth Lewis, now chief information officer at the Financial Services Authority.

The news of Bickerton's promotion follow the release of Centrica's financial results last month - the company's profits jumped 65% to £886m in the first six months of the year, fuelled by higher gas prices and a strong performance from its US arm Direct Energy.

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