Engie hunts for new CEO as board seeks accelerated transition

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Image: Engie.

French energy major Engie is seeking a new chief executive after its board decided to oust incumbent Isabelle Kocher.

Kocher, who had been in the role for just shy of four years, will be stood down in May after the company’s board of directors decided not to reappoint her once her mandate expires.

Engie confirmed the decision in a statement issued yesterday evening, concluding that further development of its energy transition-focused strategy “required a new leadership”.

It said the company needed to “take another step forward in its transformation” and to “deepen the strategy” it launched to place Engie at the forefront of the energy transition.

“Just as Engie wants to establish itself as a leading force in the energy transition, this essential enhancement will allow the group to clarify and strengthen its position relative to its different stakeholders, employees, clients and shareholders,” said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, chairman of the board at Engie.

Clamadieu and Françoise Malrieu, chair of the appointments, compensation and governance committee, have been tasked with finding the group’s replacement for Kocher. In the meantime, Claire Waysand, currently EVP and general secretary at Engie, will take the reins as interim CEO, assisted by COO Paulo Almirante and CFO Judith Hartmann.

Engie has undergone a period of significant change in recent years as it looks to pivot for the energy transition. In 2018 it reported strong organic growth on the back of its renewables and networks divisions.

The strategy has seen the firm pursue solar and storage developments in multiple markets, from microgrids in Asia and off-grid solar in Africa, to utility-scale projects in both North America and Latin America.

But last month the firm revealed that it was selling a majority stake in its Indian solar portfolio in order to pay down debt, while retreating from the hotly-competitive UK energy retail market.

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