By Susanna Twidale
British Gas owner Centrica plans to cut around 5,000 jobs, almost 20% of its global workforce, it said on Thursday, as the energy utility deepens its restructuring efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than half of the job losses are expected to come from management teams and follow 4,000 cuts planned by this year which were announced in 2018.
"The harsh reality is that we have lost over half of our earnings in recent years. Now we must bring focus by modernising and simplifying the way we do business," Group Chief Executive Chris O'Shea said in a statement.
Centrica on Thursday also announced Johnathan Ford as its new finance chief.
The company has seen the pandemic curb energy demand and has had to adapt to a price cap imposed in 2019 on the most common energy tariffs in Britain.
Earlier this year it canceled its dividend for 2019 and warned of an increase in non-payments by customers.
It said its latest restructuring push would lead to fewer customer-facing business units and that the job cuts could come as soon as the second half of this year.
Centrica currently employs around 27,000, with around 20,000 based in the UK.
A spokeswoman for the company said it was unable to disclose the locations for the proposed job cuts as they are subject to consultation, but said the proposed changes would be across all divisions of the company.
Centrica shares were down around 4.5% in early trade on Thursday.
(Reporting by Susanna Twidale in London, additional reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jason Neely)