Women in Power - Katherine

Director of Markets Regulation and Group Compliance

I’m Katherine and, since I joined SSE in 1995, I’ve seen the company grow enormously to be the highly focused Net Zero business that it is today. I did a History degree at Edinburgh, then joined Oddbins, the wine merchants, and ended up as a branch manager in Perth. One of my customers at the time told me that Hydro-Electric - as it was then – was looking for graduates with commercial experience and after quite a rigorous selection process I got the job.

Originally, I joined the Regulation team, so I spent my first year and a half looking at the rules that would underpin the opening up of the gas market to competition, so I became a gas expert and worked on a confidential project to buy a gas company. After that I was seconded to our Energy Trading business as we then had a big demand for gas for our power stations, so the commercials were very important to us. I sat on industry panels and spent a lot of time in airports, but it was an enjoyable and influential role which delivered a lot of changes, many of which are still in place today.  Then following a merger with Southern Electric, we suddenly had domestic gas customers, and a different perspective.   I continued in the role, which saw me chairing industry committees and being the youngest and first female member of the Board of the Association of Electricity Producers.

I went on maternity leave in 2003 and job shared for a while on my return, working on a project which ended up with us buying SGN, developing new industry arrangements and a very different type of commercial work for me. I had my second child and, when I came back, I went back into the Regulation team – taking on responsibility for retail issues. This was a very different market compared with when I started as we had millions of domestic customers now rather than a few hundred thousand. The role kept growing. I had a great boss who supported me in my careerand, as the role expanded, I worked closely with the Corporate Affairs and retail teams on issues like fuel poverty and smart metering, ultimately adding wholesale regulatory issues to my portfolio. In 2014, I led the high profile energy market investigation multi-disciplinary project team. I did that for two years, then became Director of Regulation.  Following a further internal restructure in 2019, I was appointed to the role I am doing today.

SSE has supported my career through a great management team and bosses, and also sponsored me to do a Masters in Leadership Practice at Napier. I’ve learned a lot here. I’m really proud – and a wee bit jealous – of the support we now give women in terms of maternity and return to work policies, flexible working and other personal development support, but I’ve been part of influencing that through the years, and have championed diversity, equality and inclusion. We have more females in senior roles then we have ever had right up to MD and GEC level. I think we have a really flexible approach that helps to bring out the best in people.

We’re a friendly, family type of organisation and we need to keep bringing in and developing new talent. We can’t stand still. New people bring a new perspective and are welcomed here. It’s somewhere you can make a difference.

"I’m really proud – and a bit jealous – of the support we now give women...but I’ve been part of influencing that through the years, and have championed diversity, equality and inclusion."

 

Ready to build a career like Katherine's? 

We’re looking for people who will lead the teams, departments and businesses in SSE. Your experience, life skills and business acumen can help us reach our Net Zero goals while you realise your own potential in an organisation known for looking after its people.

 

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