The longest serving chief executive of a ‘Big Six’ energy firm in the UK, Vincent de Rivaz, has announced that he is to step down from the role in October.
The 63-year old spent 40 years at the company but will largely be remembered for his leadership in a ten year battle to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.
Simone Rossi, the head of EDF’s international division will replace de Rivaz who in a memo to staff said that the decision “was taken several months ago” and that he wanted to wait for the group chairman to choose his successor before making an announcement.
“At the end of October 2017, I will have been your chief executive for almost 16 years. October 2017 will also mark the 40th anniversary of my time at EDF,” he said. “It is my privilege to be able to serve EDF Energy and EDF until the moment I leave.”
While no reason was given for de Rivaz’ decision, and he had dismissed questions of retirement late last year, the Times reports that getting the Hinkley Point C project to construction phase has satisfied his ambition.
De Rivaz stated that in 2007 that Britain’s citizens would be cooking their Christmas turkeys on nuclear power from Hinkley Point C by 2017, however the plant had to run a gauntlet of challenges before finally winning ultimate approval. The plant is now not expected to come on line in 2025.
Mr Rossi, an Italian national who joined EDF as chief financial officer in 2011, must now take on the task of ensuring the reactors at Hinkley are delivered by 2025.
His task will be complicated with the British decision to pull out of Euratom threatening further delays and higher costs. The UK nuclear industry hugely depends on European goods and services in the nuclear supply chain and their specialist nuclear skills.