Centrica’s finance director, Mark Clare, has been promoted to the newly-created position of deputy chief executive.

He will be taking responsibility for the Centrica Financial Services business and the company’s e-commerce activities.

He will be succeeded by Phillip Bentley who will be joining from Guinness-UDV, the alcoholic drinks division of Diageo plc, later in the year.

Clare, 43, has been with the group since 1994 when he joined the former British Gas as group financial Controller. He became Centrica’s FD in February 1997. He spent ten years at GEC-Marconi before joining STC, now part of the Northern Telecom group, in 1989, becoming finance director of STC Submarine Systems.

Bentley, 41, has been FD of UDV since June 1999 and was recently appointed FD of Guinness-UDV. He spent 15 years at BP in various financial roles before joining Grand Metropolitan in 1995 as group treasurer. In 1997 he became group treasurer and director of risk management for Diageo after Grand Met had merged with Guinness.

Chairman Sir Michael Perry said: ‘These appointments bring further strength to the successful executive team and will ensure we have the capacity to continue to deliver our strategy.’ Centrica is expanding from its traditional gas customer base into electricity, telecommunications, motoring and insurance services.

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