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BP appoints executive from Equinor to lead ventures division

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UK-based energy company BP has recruited Gareth Burns to lead its worldwide ventures business.

Burns will move from Norwegian rival Equinor, which has traditionally been an oil and gas company but has invested heavily in renewables in recent years. Since 2016, Burns has been heading up the venture business there. He will now be tasked with overseeing BP’s investments as it transitions to becoming a broad-based energy company and a net-zero emitter by 2050.

The company also appointed a new senior vice president of low carbon commercial assets in the form of Giorgia Carchitto, who also has a background in the low-carbon economy, having worked at RWE Renewables. Both Carchitto and Burns will work under BP’s head of strategy, sustainability and ventures, which is currently Giulia Chierchia. The appointments follow a trend of headhunting talent from prominent firms in the renewables sector to bolster BP’s expertise in the area.

BP’s long-term strategy is to gradually reduce its hydrocarbon production, with it focusing on the most productive oil and gas assets while expanding its presence in sustainable sources of energy such as wind, solar and biogas. BP also supports the energy transition through its lubricant brand with products like the carbon-neutral Castrol Optigear gear oil for wind turbines.

According to its website, the ventures division has investments in some 70 companies totalling a billion US dollars, with it currently actively managing just under half of these. Areas of interest for these companies include artificial intelligence, software for geospatial analysis and unmanned aerial vehicles.

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