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Who we are

The Energy and Utility Forum has an Advisory Board and three Honorary Vice Presidents.

Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan

Honorary Vice-President

Lord Martin O’Neill, Baron of Clackmannan was, successively, MP for Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire, Clackmannan and Ochil between 1979 and 2005. He was shadow defence secretary from 1988 to 1992. He was Spokesman on Energy from 1992 to 1995; Chairman of the Trade and Industry Select Committee from 1995. He became a member of the House of Lords in May 2005. He subsequently became Chairman of the Trade and Industry Select committee. He is Chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association.

Volker Beckers

Honorary Vice-President

Volker Beckers graduated from Cologne University in Economics/Business Administration. With more than 20 years’ senior experience within the energy industry, he has a comprehensive knowledge of European energy markets.

Volker was Group CEO, RWE Npower plc until the end of 2012 and prior to this, its Group CFO from 2003 to 2009. He has worked in a variety of trade and industry bodies, including the CBI President’s Committee, on the Board of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce, and since 1999 as Deputy Chair of the Executive Commercial Management Committee at the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) and was also member of the Executive Committee of UKBCSE (now Energy UK). He held a number of non-Executive directorships including HM Revenue & Customs where he chaired the Scrutiny Committee. Since 2009 he chairs the Business Energy Forum at Energy UK.

Volker’s current activities include: non-Executive Chairman, Cornwall Insight, Albion Community Power plc, Reactive Technologies, Foresight Metering, Vice-Chairman/ Board Member Danske Commodities A/S, Chair PwC UK Advisory Council, Non-Executive Director, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Elexon, Director and Honorary VP, British Institute of Energy Economics. Volker currently sits on the Advisory Board of the EU Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College, and is Chair of the Advisory Board with Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business (ECFEB), a specialist research centre at Rotterdam School of Management. In 2014 he joined the Board of Trustees of Forum for the Future. He is also a member of The Worshipful Company of Fuellers and a Fellow of the Energy Institute (FEI). Further, he works for a couple of charity organizations and fund his own family trust supporting charitable initiatives (German Heart Foundation etc).

Dr Alan Whitehead MP

Honorary Vice-President

Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change)

Alan became a Labour MP for Southampton Test in 1997 and was re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority, the constituency’s third time in history to buck out of the national trend. Alan was the Chair of PRASEG, the Associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group and Co-Chair of APSRG, the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group. He was a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee in the last parliament and in the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee until he become a Shadow DECC Minister in September 2015.

He served on the Climate Change Public Bill Committee in 2007, the Energy Public Bill Committee and the Joint Committee on the Draft Marine Bill in 2008, the Marine and Coastal Access Bill Committee and the Energy Bill Committee in 2009, the Energy Bill Committee in 2011, the Antarctic Bill Committee in 2012 and the Energy Bill Committee in 2013.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Waste Management, and member of the Board for The Environment Centre (Southampton) and the Centre for the Third Age (Southampton). He is a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Society at Southampton Solent University.

Dr Sally Barrett-Williams

Chairman and Advisory Board Member

Sally has worked in the energy sector and in regulation, in the UK and overseas, since 1990 and held senior posts both in industry and with industry regulators, before returning to private practice in 2001. She qualified as a barrister and spent time at the Administrative Law Bar before going into private practice with a City law firm. She then joined National Power as Head of UK Commercial Law, before moving on to OFGEM as Assistant Director of Legal Services, from where she went to the Rail Regulator as Director of Legal Services and Chief Legal Adviser. She returned to private practice again with a pan-European law firm, before joining an international law firm, as partner in the Energy Practice. She is now a director of a number of companies, each of which is connected, directly or indirectly, with the renewable energy market, is a partner in The Carbon Catalysts Group and practices as a specialist energy barrister from Energy Law@ Lansdown Chambers.

Tom Greatrex

Advisory Board Member

Tom Greatrex has a longstanding interest in energy policy, regulation and the political ramifications of developing technology and its impact on consumers, businesses and society. An enthusiast for community energy projects, and with a background in the mutual movement, he is also a strong advocate for a balanced low carbon power mix and critical of the lack of a joined up approach to finding solutions to our energy and electricity challenges.

Formerly MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West and shadow energy minister from 2011 – 2015, he was the opposition’s lead spokesman on nuclear energy, electricity market reform, smart grid and metering, carbon capture and storage, interconnection and both onshore and offshore oil and gas.

Since leaving Parliament in 2015, he has been an independent policy analyst working in the energy sector for a range of clients, including both renewables and gas; a media commentator on energy issues and a regular columnist for Utility Week. Since 2106, he has been Chief Executive of the UK’s nuclear industry trade body, the NIA. He is also chair of Supporters’ Direct, the not-for-profit umbrella organisation for trusts promoting supporter ownership of football clubs.

Andrew Buglass

Advisory Board Member

Andrew Buglass has been a developer and a financier of energy projects since 1992. His experience spans energy projects in over 30 countries, working for PowerGen plc and Unocal Corporation among others. From 2009 to 2014, Andrew ran Royal Bank of Scotland’s energy financing team in London, and led it to become the leading lender to the UK renewables sector 2011-13.

At the end of 2014, Andrew established a consulting practice which provides strategic and commercial advice to innovative companies delivering low carbon projects and emergent technologies. Clients include renewable energy companies, investment funds, and independent generators. Andrew is a regular expert contributor to government and industry groups on policy and financing issues. Much of this work has been carried out in his role as Co-Chair of the Low Carbon Finance Group. In addition, he holds a number of other advisory and non-executive roles.

Ian Graves

Advisory Board Member

Ian is a Chartered Engineer, Charter Director and Fellow of the IET, IMechE and IOD with 25 years’ plus experience in the energy and utilities sectors. He runs his own company, Competitive Futures Limited.

He joined Midlands Electricity as a sponsored graduate and over the next 10 years led major projects company wide and all network activity in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

After ME’s acquisition by E.ON,  he held senior roles in power generation and fleet wide asset management, including international work in the US and Europe, as well as a secondment to government. After leaving E.ON, he became Power Sector Director at Costain.

Most recently he was Director of European Business Development at National Grid, dealing with strategic growth, new business in the UK and Europe and providing technical and commercial expertise in the US.  He represented National Grid before select committees and in the media.

He is a trustee of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, a project board NEC for the Birmingham Symphony Hall and a member of the Executive Council for Parliamentary Group for Energy.

Dr Edward Libbey

Deputy Chairman

Edward Libbey has nearly 30 years of senior international management experience in the energy and high technology industries. He spent over 20 years with BP, in a variety of commercial, strategic and operational roles in the USA, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. He played a leading role in setting up and running BP’s international oil trading business in the early 1980s. He was subsequently the US President, and Board Director of Whatman plc. He is now Chairman of World Energy Solutions the leading company providing on-line reverse-auction based exchanges for electricity, natural gas, green power and environmental commodities that is listed on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. He is also a Board Member of the Oil & Pipelines Agency. He is a Fellow of the Energy Institute and of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a member of the Security Institute. He is an independent Consultant, working primarily for the recruitment consultancy, Clive & Stokes International.

Neil Sampson


For the last 25 years Neil has provided executive recruitment, assessment and development services for business start-ups, performance improvement, team development, restructuring, and career management across the supply chain of the energy and utility sectors, requiring significant understanding of business strategy, technologies, performance targets and stakeholder objectives. Prior to 2002, when he established his own business, he was an Energy & Utility Practice Leader with TMP Worldwide, a global talent management consultancy. His early career was with the National Coal Board, and HR management with Tesco, and a Shell Oil/Dutch water authority JV supplying plastic pipes and fittings to the UK Water, Gas, and Housing sectors. He is an Associate Member British Psychological Society, Member Institute of Personnel & Development and Member Institute of Directors.

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The Forum brings to the political agenda current issues in the energy and utility sector and encourages conversation and education.