Mark Clare, the managing director of British Gas's residential division, is to leave the company to take up the CEO position with homebuilder Barratt Developments.

Mr Clare moves on after 12 years with Centrica-owned British Gas and four as the managing director of the residential division, a period in which the business has suffered from customer account switching and consequentially financial losses.

The outgoing residential division MD has also presided over an era of price hikes, including a 22% increase to domestic bills in February. However despite such recent measures, parent company Centrica still made a loss of GBP75 million in the second half of 2005.

However, Centrica’s chief executive Sir Roy Gardner has praised Mr Clare for his running of the residential department in a difficult time of volatile wholesale gas prices. The Centrica CEO added that he understood Mr Clare’s desire to take up a chief executive position elsewhere.

Mr Clare will leave British Gas in September.