EGP N. America head named CEO

US-born Francesco Venturini, the erstwhile head of Enel Green Power’s booming North American unit, has been named the new chief executive of Italy-based EGP, replacing Francesco Starace.

Starace, EGP’s chief executive since its late 2010 initial public offering, and a Recharge Thought Leader, was recently promoted to chief executive of Italian electricity giant Enel, which faces a decidedly cloudier future than its renewables-focused progeny.

Enel owns 68% of EGP, whose shares are listed in Milan and Madrid. Enel itself is minority owned by the Italian government.

The 45-year-old Venturini joined Enel in 1997. In 2009 he was appointed financial head of EGP, and in 2011 he was put in charge of the company’s key North American division.

Venturini takes control of what is one of the largest, most important, and most geographically and technologically diversified renewables companies in the world, with 8.9GW installed globally, and plans to add another 4.6GW by the end of next year.

The company added nearly 1GW of new capacity last year, mostly wind, and has a market capitalization of €10.8bn ($14.7bn).

While the biggest proportion of EGP's assets are in Europe, the company's ambitions are largely tied to the world’s critical emerging markets for wind and solar.

Since its IPO, Rome-based EGP has more than doubled its installed capacity in North America, with nearly 1.7GW in place at the beginning of 2014.

In addition to its role as a developer and project owner, EGP also owns a one-third stake in 3Sun, a Sicily-based maker of thin-film PV Modules, alongside co-owners Sharp and STMicroelectronics.

3Sun will supply modules to EGP’s solar projects.

While solar contributes a relatively small portion of EGP’s revenues today, the company has rapidly grown its ambitions for the sector over the past few years – including winning a 314MW PV allocation in South Africa’s last renewables tender.