* Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath previously headed RWE Renewables
* Sanyal to become CEO of European refiner Varo Energy
* Departure comes 14 months after Sanyal’s appointment (Recasts, updates with Sanyal’s move to CEO, background)
LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - BP named Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, a former chief executive of RWE Renewables, to oversee the British company’s rapid expansion into renewable energy following the unexpected departure of BP’s head of low carbon and natural gas Dev Sanyal.
Dotzenrath’s appointment comes at a time when BP, under the leadership of CEO Bernard Looney, seeks to rapidly grow its renewables business and shift away from oil.
Dotzenrath is an electrical engineer with more than 25 years of senior experience in energy. She helped RWE Renewables develop into one of the world’s largest renewable power companies and the second largest offshore wind player globally.
Sanyal, who joined BP 32 years ago, will now become the chief executive of European refiner Varo Energy, owned by Carlyle Group and Vitol, where he will expand the focus on low carbon energy, the company said in a separate statement.
“By choosing an executive vice president to lead the gas & low carbon energy business with a renewable energy track record and no oil & gas experience, BP confirms its ambitions in renewable energy while showing that it sees a smaller role in the natural gas part of the business going forward,” Jefferies analyst Giacomo Romeo said in a note.
Sanyal’s departure comes 19 months after Bernard Looney took over as BP CEO with an ambitious strategy to turn the oil and gas company into a major renewables and power company.
Sanyal was among three executives shortlisted to succeed former CEO Bob Dudley along with Looney and former chief financial officer Brian Gilvary, company sources previously told Reuters.
In July 2020, Sanyal was appointed as head of natural gas and low carbon as part of a major company overhaul. He will hand over his responsibilities in the fourth quarter of 2021, BP said.
The British and Indian national oversaw major investments in recent months, including in U.S. and British offshore wind projects.
He had previously headed BP’s alternative energy business where he oversaw BP’s acquisition of a 43% stake in Lightsource BP, a major solar company.
Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Jason Neely and Edmund Blair