World Energy Council Elects New Officers of The Board

31st October 2023

Press Release


The world's oldest independent and impartial membership-based energy organisation expands its Officers’ Council with global energy leaders from the Americas, Middle East and Gulf States, and Europe.

31 October 2023: The World Energy Council has expanded its Officers’ Council (Board of Directors) with global energy leaders from across the Americas, Middle East and Gulf States, and Europe. Elected by the Council’s membership at the 2023 Executive Assembly, these high-level Officers join the established Board representing the Council’s diverse community of over 3,000 member organisations and presence in more than 100 countries.

On the elections, Dr Mike Howard, Chair of the Officers Council, said:

“The turbulence of today’s energy landscape has put energy and, critically, energy transitions, front and centre in people’s minds all around the world. Beyond policymakers and traditional energy leadership roles, people and communities are deeply involved and invested in the energy choices being made today. As a result, the independent voice and leadership of the World Energy Council has never been more important, and our Officers from all geographies have a key role to play as we work to Humanise Energy around the world.”

The Officers elected include:

· Rafael Cayuela Valencia, Corporate Chief Economist, Dow Chemical Company (United States) as Chair, Studies Committee (2023-2026); succeeding Dr Leonhard Birnbaum, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management, E.ON, who held the role since 2019.

· Omar Zaafrani, Global Head of Corporate Affairs and ESG at Puma Energy (UAE) as Chair, Communications & Strategy Committee (2023-2026); re-nominated to stand for another three-year term.

· José Antonio Vargas Lleras, Chairman of Codensa and Emgesa, ENEL Group Companies (Colombia) as Chair, Programme Committee (2023-2024); re-nominated to stand for a one-year term.

· Barbara Terenghi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Edison SPA (Italy) as Co-Chair, Programme Committee (2023-2024) and Chair, Programme Committee (2024-2027).

· Burkhard von Kienitz, Chief Operating Officer Processes, E.ON SE (Germany) as the newly created position of Vice Chair, Regional Initiatives (2023-2026)

· Fahad Alajlan, President, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (Saudi Arabia) as Vice Chair, Middle East and Gulf States (2023-2024); nominated to complete the term of Fahad Al- Turky who had to step down this summer.

The following Officer positions remain unchanged:

· Norbert Schwieters, Global Leader, Energy, Utilities & Resources (retired), PwC; Chair, Finance Committee

· Beatrice Buffon, Senior Executive Vice-President, International Division, EDF Group; Vice Chair, Europe

· Patricia Vincent-Collawn, Chairman and CEO, PNM Resources; Vice Chair, North America

· Kim Yin Wong, Group President & CEO, Sembcorp Industries; Vice Chair, Asia

· Claudio Seebach, CEO, Generadoras de Chile; Vice Chair, Latin America and Caribbean

· Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General, African Petroleum Producers Organisation; Vice Chair, Africa

· Naomi Hirose, Fmr. President and CEO, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO); Vice Chair, Impact

· Jeroen van Hoof, Global Energy, Utilities & Resources Leader, PwC; Vice Chair, 2024 World Energy Congress

· Cristina Morales, Project Leader, Energy, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Colombia; Vice Chair, Future Energy Leaders; This Board position was created earlier this year to represent the voice of the Council’s Future Energy Leaders Programme. The programme, celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year, is the world’s oldest, largest and most geographically diverse platform of young energy professionals, comprising global and national components.

Dr Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General and CEO of the World Energy Council, said:

“I welcome the strength and diversity of experiences embodied by our new Board, and value their support and commitment as exemplary leaders of the world energy community, as we work to progress faster, fairer and more far reaching energy transitions.”

About the World Energy Council

The World Energy Council is the world's oldest independent and impartial community of energy leaders and practitioners. Through our Humanising Energy vision, we involve more people and communities in accelerating clean and inclusive energy transitions in all world regions. Formed in 1923, the Council is a UN-accredited global energy body that has convened diverse interests from across the full energy ecosystem for a century, and today has over 3,000 member organisations and a presence in nearly 100 countries. Our global network draws from governments, private and state corporations, academia and civil society, as well as current and future energy leaders. We collaborate on impact programmes and inform local, regional and global energy agendas in support of our enduring mission: to promote the sustainable use and supply of energy for the benefit of all people. Further details at and on LinkedIn and @WECouncil.

For media inquiries, please contact the Council’s media relations team at FTI Consulting: or +44 (0)7929847395

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