'It is an exciting time to lead a strong business': New EnergyAustralia head Catherine Tanna. Photo: Jesse Marlow
Catherine Tanna is to leave her role as chair of UK gas major's BG Group in Australia to take up the post of managing director of major electricity and gas retailer EnergyAustralia, which has been struggling with tough competition and weak prices.
In a surprise announcement on Thursday, EnergyAustralia said Ms Tanna, who is also on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, would take up the role from July 1. She is replacing Richard McIndoe, who flagged his plans late last year to leave the company after being embroiled in an unfair dismissal case which involved allegations of sexual harassment.
EnergyAustralia chairman Graham Bradley, who is understood to have head-hunted Ms Tanna for the role, said the leadership she had shown in previous roles, together with her understanding of the energy sector "will stand her in good stead for navigating us through the challenges we face in the external market including the complex regulatory and market forces at work in our sector."
Ms Tanna said she was "thrilled" to be joining EnergyAustralia and that it was "the right time for me to take on new challenge and I leave with pride at what we have achieved at QGC."
"Energy markets are undergoing significant change and it is an exciting time to lead a strong business as it adapts while seeking to exceed the expectations of our 2.7 million customers," Ms Tanna said.
She and her family will relocate to Melbourne from Brisbane to take up her new role. She will continue to serve on the RBA Board and represent EnergyAustralia as a member of the Business Council of Australia.
BG Group executive chairman Andrew Gould thanked Ms Tanna for her "significant contribution" to the company, both as managing director of the group's Australian business QGC from 2009 to 2012 and as Chairman of BG Australia since then. She has overseen the development of the $US20.4 billion Queensland Curtis liquefied natural gas project in Gladstone, BG's biggest single investment worldwide, which is due to start production late this year.
"Cath was instrumental in establishing our business in Australia, bringing the Queensland Curtis LNG project through sanction and well into execution, and she has played an important role over the past two years in managing our senior stakeholder relationships," Mr Gould said.
"Cath leaves with our thanks and best wishes."