Shell will have a new leader at its New Energies unit from April, as Elisabeth Brinton takes over from current chief Mark Gainsborough in a role pivotal to the oil giant’s growing renewables and clean energy ambitions.

Brinton, currently global VP strategy and portfolio, will succeed Gainsborough as executive vice president New Energies on 1 April, she said via Linkedin.

Brinton, who describes herself as “a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and utility industry veteran”, has held her current role since October 2018. Before that she ran the new energy operation of AGL Energy in Sydney and held the corporate strategy officer post for Pacific Gas and Electric in San Francisco.

Brinton will take over from Gainsborough at the top of a New Energies operation that has grown to be a significant force in offshore wind, storage, power trading and other key areas of the energy transition – and has stated ambitions to help Shell become the world’s largest power company.

Gainsborough, a 38-year Shell veteran who has run New Energies since it was set up in 2016, told Recharge in an exclusive interview last year: “We’ve told our investors to expect to see us spending $1bn-2bn per annum in the power business over the next couple of years and if we see it going well, we’ll probably scale that up to $2bn-3bn per annum.”

Shell’s renewables push has been notable for participation in major projects off Europe and North America, and more recently the acquisition of French floating wind specialist Eolfi.

Under Gainsborough’s leadership it also acquired Sonnen, the German battery specialist that is a global rival to Tesla.