Interview: Marie-José Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council

Posted on 13 January 2014

Marie-José Nadeau has taken the helm as the first woman chair in the WEC’s 90-year history. She talks about her vision, the 2013 Congress, and the path towards Istanbul 2016. 

What are your key takeaways from the 2013 Congress?

The Congress has been outstanding in terms of its programme and attendance, with 7500 delegates, including our 93 country member committees, 50 ministers from around the world, close to 100 sessions, and 270 speakers. This is truly remarkable – and we owe it to WEC’s London team and to the Korean Organising Committee.

I think that the word – the buzzword of the Congress – is ‘trilemma’. I firmly believe that our trilemma study provides a simple and effective way to frame the debate. Energy access, energy security and environmental mitigation are the three key pillars in which we can discuss the most pressing problems facing energy and find consensus on appropriate solutions. I hope that we can bring this initiative one step further in Istanbul.

What are your key tasks on the path to Istanbul 2016?

As always, we will work closely with the Organising Committee. We are fortunate that the Turkish Energy Minister was in Daegu, meeting with influential CEOs and other ministers. Istanbul, we must remember, is a bridge between Asia, Europe and the Middle East and we must take advantage of that extraordinary context. Once the Congress theme is agreed upon, we will be promoting the Congress with the view to attract as much attention and as many delegates as possible.

Give us an idea of your strategy and your vision for the next three years as Chair of the World Energy Council.

As Chair of the World Energy Council, three objectives will drive my action until our next Congress in 2016.

Like all representative organisations, there are always areas in which we need to grow and become stronger. My first objective is to increase WEC’s presence in countries that are not represented or where we have under-representation of key stakeholders in both our membership and governance structure. I know I can count on the support of the co-chair and regional vice chairs to achieve this goal.

My second objective is to work on our inclusiveness and diversity. Few, if any, global organisations are as inclusive and diverse as WEC, both in terms of regional representation and scope of our membership. That does not imply that we cannot improve. I would like to see more young professionals, men and women, involved in the dialogue that we will be building. Securing tomorrow’s energy today calls for the contribution of tomorrow’s energy leaders. They have a word to say in the global energy debate. I will work with WEC’s Future Energy Leaders with a view to have them participate actively in our discussions. I consider Turkey the perfect venue to give visibility to the upcoming energy leaders. And I insist on men and also women – currently there are very few women in the organisation. I am committed to be supportive of their endeavours to increase their participation in our various forums.

My third objective is to pursue our quest for excellence in our work programme, including our flagship reports World Energy Trilemma and World Energy Scenarios.  These reports are widely read and quoted and they have contributed to move the WEC into the top league of global energy organisations.  It is my responsibility as Chair to ensure that our publications continue to meet the highest standards of governance and quality. To that end, I know I can count on all those involved in our work program, including our Member Committees and the Officers Council.

Marie-José Nadeau
was inaugurated as the Chair of the World Energy Council at the World Energy Congress in October.