Dr Caroline Harper, OBE
Dr Caroline Harper graduated in Physics from Bristol University in 1981, and went on to Churchill College, Cambridge to do a PhD in Energy Studies. She joined British Gas in 1985 (before it was privatised and divided into Centrica, Transco and BG), where she worked in a range of departments culminating in a few years working as a commercial negotiator in the section which became ‘Transco’ (now National Grid Transco).
Dr Harper joined Amerada Hess Ltd in 1991, to set up Amerada Hess Gas Ltd, a subsidiary dedicated to selling gas to industrial customers. As Managing Director, Dr Harper built the organisation from its conception, to one with a turnover of close to £1 billion, selling both gas and electricity to homes and businesses, and trading gas on the stock market on behalf of a range of major oil and gas companies. She was awarded the OBE for services to the gas industry in 2000. Amerada Hess Gas Ltd was sold for around £120 million in 2002, when Dr Harper left the business.
Following the sale of the company, Dr Harper spent six months travelling in Africa, China and South America, before setting up her own interim management business. She advised a number of energy clients, but her main project was the turnaround and sale of the UK retail subsidiary of Fortum, a Finnish company, where she became Interim General Manager and led the sales process.
After a further period of travel, Dr Harper became a non executive director of Notting Hill Housing Group, a housing association in west London (turnover £90 million). She joined Sightsavers in 2005, having made the decision that the time had come to move away from the private sector to work in the not-for-profit sector.