Speculation that Bentley had fallen out with Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw has been played down. But with Laidlaw likely to remain in post for the foreseeable future Bentley is having to look elsewhere if he wants a chief executive role.
Bentley, who was credited with improving British Gas' customer services and call centre operations, was paid £681,000 last year. He also has £6.7million in shares and has a £210,000-a-year pension.
Laidlaw is due next month to update investors on his strategy for the group, which also comprises an oil and gas exploration and production business and a North American operation. Centrica declined to comment.