Alison Cole to leave Npower amid PR team shake-up

Major energy player RWE Npower is overhauling its PR team as it switches to a retail-only focus in the UK, with comms director Alison Cole set to lose her job as a result.

Power switch: ‘Generation’ will be overseen by a team in Germany
Power switch: ‘Generation’ will be overseen by a team in Germany

The company will merge the public affairs team with the public relations team, which has been headed by Cole for the past 12 years.

The rethink comes as co-ordination of the company’s energy generation business, which covers power stations, shifts to a Europe-wide team based in Germany under the RWE Generation banner.

Head of PR Richard Frost said the departure of Cole, who oversaw the PR team and internal comms – responsibilities that have been shifted to the HR team – was ‘a direct result of a desire to change the structure’.

Npower’s team in the UK will now focus on the retail side of the business and the promotion of RWE energy services.

Frost explained that while the move followed wider shifts within Npower, it would also allow the company to be more responsive to an energy market in flux.

Referring to the Government’s Energy Bill, which seeks to help drive £110bn of investment into low-carbon power, he said: ‘We will be able to work more closely with our public affairs colleagues in terms of developing messages, and ensuring that the changes that come from Government are reflected properly in our consumer-facing comms.’

Frost and the PR team will now report to director of public affairs Guy Johnson.

Cole joined the company as director of comms when it was known as Innogy and will leave the company in April without a job to go to.

She told PRWeek: ‘After 27 years in the energy industry, it might be time to take stock of what life has to offer, and I will look at any roles that are out there.’

Npower’s relationship with UK corporate agency Camargue remains unaffected.

Volker Beckers stepped down as Npower boss at the end of last year. He has been replaced by Paul Massara, formerly the company’s chief commercial officer.

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