KATIE Bickerstaffe has been appointed as the chief executive designate of the new energy and services company SSE plc and innogy SE will form subject to necessary approvals.

Bickerstaffe is the first appointment to the board of the new company and will take up her new appointment later this year. She will lead the work being done to prepare for the formation and listing of the new company, expected to take place in the last quarter of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019.

Bickerstaff has been an executive director of Dixons Carphone plc since it was formed in 2014 and has been chief executive, UK and Ireland for the business since 2015, having joined Dixons in 2008 and been a member of its Board since 2012. She will step down from her position as a non-executive director of SSE plc on April 30. Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE plc, said: “Katie has excellent credentials in retail, extensive experience of organisational change and recent insight derived from merging two companies into one.

“She will therefore bring to the role of chief executive a strong customer focus and enormous capacity to unlock the great potential that exists in combining the experience and insight of two established players with the focus and agility of a new, independent company. Having served on the Board of SSE she also has excellent insight into the challenges and opportunities of the retail energy market in Great Britain. Her appointment is another important milestone and reinforces the commitment from both SSE and innogy to completing the transaction and setting the new company up for success.”

Martin Hermann, chief operating officer retail, innogy, said: “We are right on schedule with our preparations for the new combined retail company. Our decision who will take up the CEO position is a really positive sign of the progress we are making. Katie has outstanding experience in retail and she knows the particular challenges the British energy business presents. She knows how to lead a truly customer-focused company that satisfies customers, employees and shareholders. These are the most vital elements needed to make a long-term success of the new company we plan to set up.”