Secretary General

Christoph Frei Christoph Frei

Christoph Frei is the World Energy Council’s fifth Secretary General.

 

Vision

Since joining the World Energy Council (WEC) in 2009, Dr Frei’s priorities have been to mobilise international energy leaders and decision-makers to work together towards building a sustainable future, underpinned by robust policymaking.  “Our energy system today is unsustainable,” he says. “The World Energy Council is uniquely placed in being able to bring high-level decision-makers together for dialogue on the most important energy issues.  It can act as a powerful catalyst for change.  On behalf of the WEC’s global network, I am determined to make sure that by working across sectors, geographies and diverse interests, we will help ensure that energy is seen as a central part of sustainable development.”

Dr Frei’s main focus has been to provide world decision-makers with the necessary evidence base and the high-level dialogue platform for energy policies to address the ‘energy trilemma’ – the trade-offs between energy security, energy affordability, and environmental impact mitigation.

Achievements

Under Dr Frei’s leadership, the WEC has expanded and developed its energy studies and formed major partnerships and programmes which have enhanced the impact and relevance of the 90-year-old organisation.

Dr Christoph Frei has worked tirelessly to expand and enhance the WEC’s suite of global energy studies.  He pioneered the energy issues monitor, a barometer charting the world’s most critical energy issues.  He expanded the coverage of the WEC’s survey of energy resources to include costs by developing a partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  He has also seen through the early development of the WEC’s assessment of country energy policies. For this, he built a partnership with Oliver Wyman, the management consulting firm, and helped develop the assessment into an ongoing process rather than a one-off study.  He also re-launched the WEC’s global energy scenarios project with a fresh team and with a partnership with Paul Scherrer Institute, the science and engineering research centre.

On behalf of the WEC network, Dr Frei has brokered the organisation’s support of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (UNSE4ALL) initiative to benchmark and track country energy policies, and represented the WEC at UNSE4ALL high-level meetings.

To provide a regular high-level dialogue platform for influential energy decision-makers, he instituted the World Energy Leaders’ Summits which bring together ministers, CEOs, and international organisations for an informed debate on the critical issues facing the energy world.

Dr Frei has also worked towards strengthening the WEC’s financial base.  He started the Global Partners programme and strengthened the Patrons Programme, which since 2009 have brought in additional revenue for the organisation.

Dr Frei regularly presents the WEC’s strategic insight and global activities at international energy conferences around the world.

Background

Born in Switzerland in 1969, Christoph Frei became the World Energy Council’s youngest Secretary General in April 2009.

He has an assignment as Adjunct Professor and acts as Advisor to the President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Energy Security. Before joining the World Energy Council, Dr Frei was Senior Director, Energy Industries & Policy at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and a member of WEF’s Executive Council (2001–2009). Previously he held various positions as Research Fellow and Lecturer at Swiss Federal Technical Institutes in Zurich (CEPE/ETHZ), Lausanne (EPFL) and Würenlingen (PSI).

Dr Frei’s work and publications have covered energy security, energy poverty, and urban innovation. He has initiated projects including EPFL’s Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, the South Africa based Energy Access Partnership, and the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, which in 2008 led Ethisphere to rank him among the 100 most influential people in business ethics.

Education

Dr Frei received his PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, in 2001. He holds diplomas in electrical engineering and econometrics, and masters in energy systems and in applied ethics.

Personal

Christoph Frei was born in Switzerland.  He speaks fluent English, French, and German, and some Italian and Spanish. He is married and has three children.