Former BP exec Tufan Erginbilgic is GIP’s newest partner

Erginbilgic ended a 23-year career at BP in March and joins the NY-based manager as it readies deployment of its new fund.

Global Infrastructure Partners has named former BP executive Tufan Erginbilgic as the newest partner at the New York-based firm, as GIP prepares to begin investing its $22 billion flagship fund.

The energy-sector veteran joins GIP after ending in March a 23-year career at BP, where he served in numerous senior-level positions. Since 1997, after leaving Mobil Oil Company, Erginbilgic has led retail operations and BP’s lubricant division. He also was chief of staff to BP’s former chief executive from 2007-09. Most recently, Erginbilgic served as the head of BP’s downstream business, where “he doubled underlying earnings, tripled returns and delivered a record-setting safety performance,” GIP said in a statement.

In February, after BP announced it would tap the head of exploration and production, Bernard Looney, to become BP’s new chief executive, the company said Erginbilgic would be departing amid a leadership shuffle.

GIP has a history of bringing on noteworthy finance professionals. In 2019, the firm hired former World Bank president Jim Yong Kim as a partner and vice-chairman. Jim Amine, who previously led Credit Suisse’s investment banking and capital markets group, joined GIP last month.

Erginbilgic’s work with GIP began over the summer with him serving as a senior advisor, with the idea that he would eventually manage a portfolio company or joint venture, according to a source with insight into his hiring. After a few months, impressed by Erginbilgic’s experience evaluating potential investments and running large businesses, the firm asked him to come on as a partner.

In a statement, GIP chairman Adebayo Ogunlesi touted Erginbilgic’s role in helping BP map out a plan to prepare the company for the global energy transition to cleaner fuel sources. His experience “will be invaluable to GIP as we implement our own energy transition plans and heighten our focus on leadership in ESG issues,” Ogunlesi stated.

GIP is ending the investment period for its third flagship fund, which has enough capital for one more deal after closing in 2017 on $15.8 billion, the source said. Looking forward, the firm is preparing to start deploying its latest fund, GIP IV, which closed last year on $22 billion as the largest infrastructure vehicle ever raised.

The firm’s flagship fund series invests across developed markets in the energy, transportation and water sectors, targeting mid-teen gross returns. GIP has executed some of the industry’s largest energy infrastructure transactions, such as the $10 billion purchase in June of natural gas pipelines in the United Arab Emirates. The firm has also made large-scale transactions in the renewables space as well, including a $1.4 billion deal in 2017 for the utility company NRG Energy’s renewables platform.

In addition to its global vehicles, GIP, which declined to comment for this story, is building out its infrastructure debt business through two fundraises and is raising an emerging markets-focused vehicle.