Bill Coley

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Firing up the nuclear sector

As the man who holds the fate of the UK's biggest nuclear energy producer, including key sites and nuclear expertise, in his hands, Bill Coley is to be taken seriously.

He hasn't always been treated with such regard since taking over British Energy in March 2005, in spite of vowing to improve the reliability of its eight nuclear plants.

The North Carolina-bred former boss of Duke Energy had taken a retirement job as a non-executive director of British Energy and found himself with the task of bringing British Energy back from bankruptcy following a government-backed rescue plan.

The 65-year-old had had a 37-year career with Duke Power, where he held a variety of management and executive roles culminating in group president between 1997 and 2003.

But he packed away his golf clubs and brought with him from Charlotte, NC, his wife of 41 years, Jane.

He told an interviewer: "In all that time I've worked nights and holidays and weekends and she's never complained at it."

Saddled with ageing power plants, he found it hard to improve British Energy's patchy operating performance.

However, if he secures the company's place at the forefront of Britain's nuclear revival, it will be a fitting swansong to his career.

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