THE woman who has stood at the helm of power giant Drax for more than a decade is stepping down from her role.

The energy group, which operates Drax Power Station, near Selby, has announced that Dorothy Thompson will be leaving her post as group chief executive at the end of the year, following 12 years in charge.

Mrs Thompson will be replaced by Will Gardiner, currently group chief financial officer, who will take on the role from January 1, 2018.

Drax chairman Philip Cox said: “We are delighted Will is to become chief executive. He has been a key architect of our new strategy and is a focused, innovative and engaging leader.

“His appointment is a natural progression after two years working alongside Dorothy developing an ambitious strategy. On behalf of the board I would like to thank Dorothy for her enormous contribution to Drax.

“She transformed the business during her tenure and leaves the group in a strong position with a clear strategy that lays the foundations for further success in a changing energy sector.”

Mrs Thompson said: “Drax Group plays a strategic role in the UK electricity sector generating around 16 per cent of UK renewable electricity, is a world leader in the production of wood pellets and is a leading challenger brand in the supply of electricity to businesses.

“I retire knowing the group is in excellent shape: it has the right strategy, the right team and in Will, the right leader.”

Mr Gardiner joined Drax as group chief financial officer and a member of the group board in November 2015.

He said: “I am thrilled to be appointed at this exciting time for Drax. The changes we are seeing in the UK energy sector are unprecedented and we have an opportunity to thrive while doing the right thing for the UK energy market. Drax’s people have demonstrated repeatedly their ability to deliver transformational change and I’m delighted to be working with them.”