€250k pay cap ‘will not be breached’ to attract new chief to Bord Gáis

A senior source within the Department of Public Expenditure has said that the €250,000 pay cap will not be breached in order to attract a new CEO to Bord Gáis.

A department spokesperson refused to comment on whether or not the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, had requested that an exception be made in order to attract a replacement for the outgoing CEO, John Mullins.

Mr Rabbitte said he had no comment to make when asked if he had requested a concession from Minister Brendan Howlin’s Department of Public Expenditure.

However, a source with in Mr Howlin’s department insisted that there would be no breach of the pay cap.

Bord Gáis has been looking for a new CEO since Mr Mullins announced that he would be stepping down to pursue other projects in July.

Mr Mullins took the decision to leave Bord Gáis following a series of reductions in his pay package. In 2010 he was earning €399,000, which has fallen to €250,000 under the public service pay cap. Since announcing his retirement he has been tipped as the new chairman of the Port of Cork. He is also believed to be involved in a Spanish solar venture.

A Bord Gáis spokesperson said it was close to announcing a replacement.

“The recruitment process is on-going and confidential but it is expected that we will make an announcement early in 2013,” the spokesperson said.

There has been speculation that a number of high-profile external candidates have been linked to the role and it is in relation to these that a request to breach the pay cap may have been made.

If the pay cap remains in place the two candidates tipped to take the role are group chief financial officer, Michael O’Sullivan or Bord Gáis Energy chief Dave Kirwan.

The head of Bord Gáis will be responsible for overseeing the establishment of the nations newest utility, Irish Water. It is expected that the combined assets of Bord Gáis and Irish Water would have assets valued around the €20 billion mark making it one of the largest semi-states in the country.

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