Experienced hand joins FTSE 100 debutant Essar Energy

Jul 05, 2010
<p>Mark Lidiard takes up his fourth investor relations role at a FTSE 100 company</p>

Essar Energy, the India-focused energy company, has appointed Mark Lidiard to the new position of director of investor relations and communications.

Essar Energy joined the FTSE 100 in June this year, following a £1.3 bn ($2 bn) IPO that took place in London in April. The FTSE 100 debutant has turned to an experienced hand to run its IR department; the new role is Lidiard’s fourth turn as head of IR for a UK blue-chip company.

Lidiard was previously group communications director at Lloyds TSB from 2008 to 2009, where he was responsible for internal and external communications. ‘It was an interesting but also a very challenging period,’ he explains. ‘We ran communications throughout the HBOS acquisition – a big undertaking given the number of internal staff. At the same time, we also went through a significant recapitalization.’

Before that he ran global investor relations and communications at BHP Billiton from 2002 to 2007. Prior to BHP Billiton, he was head of investor relations at Powergen from 2000 to 2002. While at Powergen, he also held the position of assistant group treasurer and head of project finance from 1997 to 2000, a role which included responsibility for power project financings in India.

His background in power, oil and gas, coupled with his experience of working in India, made Lidiard a strong choice for the post. ‘BHP Billiton is one of the most widely held stocks in the world, dual-listed in the UK and Australia with secondary listings in South Africa and the US,’ he explains. ‘Essar is a newly listed company and IR as a discipline is relatively new to the group. I can bring a lot of experience to this role.’

The IR chief is currently overseeing the appointment of an international IR team. ‘We are finalizing the appointment of two representatives in India, one who will work for Essar Oil, which has a separate listing, and the other who will work for the power division,’ he says.

Lidiard is looking for two more individuals in the UK – one in investor relations and someone to cover media relations. ‘What is really fun about Essar is that I’m not entering an environment where everything is already in place. It’s almost a blank sheet of paper, which makes it really interesting and rewarding,’ he says.

Lidiard reports to his CEO who is based in India, while the Essar Energy CFO, Gerry Bacon, will be based in London. Lidiard will also make monthly trips to India to sit on Essar Energy's management committee.

Essar Energy’s IPO was the largest primary listing in London since December 2007 when it listed just over 23 percent of its free float.

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