* Move would follow plans to split company in two
* Paper says RWE to book impairment of more than 1 bln eur
* RWE says can’t rule out impairments (Adds analyst’s comment, context)
By Tom Käckenhoff and Christoph Steitz
DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Peter Terium, the chief executive of struggling German utility RWE, could switch jobs to become the head of the group’s planned renewables, networks and retail division, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Terium, 52, would move from managing the group’s declining power plants business, which focused on cutting costs and jobs, and instead shape the new division that will be split off this year.
Following years of losses and plant closures, Terium, RWE’s CEO since 2012, unveiled a new strategy in December to bundle the company’s renewables, networks and retail divisions into a new entity.
Potential leadership opposition was removed last month with the departure of Arndt Neuhaus, the head of RWE’s domestic market division and considered as being close to the powerful local municipalities, which hold about 24 percent in RWE.
Terium, a vegetarian and fan of yoga, wants the creative freedom to manage a growing business and the position could also mean heading the new unit’s supervisory board, the two sources said.
“This makes sense as the NewCo will have all the stable businesses and a bulk of the EBITDA,” Bernstein analyst Deepa Venkateswaran said by e-mail, referring to the as-yet-unnamed new company. She has a “market-perform” rating on the stock, which was down 1 percent at 0911 GMT.
RWE has so far not commented on the group’s future management but a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last month that Terium could run the new entity on an interim basis.
As part of the restructuring, the group will list a 10 percent stake in the new unit, which will be split off from power generation at coal, gas and nuclear plants that are suffering from record low wholesale market prices, tepid demand and a rise in rivalling renewable energy.
The crisis could trigger an impairment charge of more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for its power plants, German paper Rheinische Post cited company sources as saying, which would be in line with recent impairments at peers E.ON and EnBW.
A spokeswoman for RWE, which is due to report full-year results on March 8, said that the group was regularly challenging asset book values in the fourth quarter.
“We cannot exclude impairments in the context of our full year accounting.”
$1 = 0.8929 euros Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Katharine Houreld