Frank Demaille

January 4, 2018

The 2017 Young Leader and President and CEO of ENGIE North America Inc. speaks with us about his business.

Interview

Before coming to ENGIE, you held positions in the French Ministry of Finance and in the political realm. What made you decide to shift to the energy sector?

I really enjoyed the time I spent working in the French Administration, but after some years there I wanted to move to a different environment, one that is more international and with huge challenges where I believe I could have a direct impact. The energy sector clearly checks those boxes! But something that is common between working for a public administration or in the energy sector is that what you do is meaningful and impactful for everybody. Energy is at the heart of the economy –energy makes progress possible. The same is true about services offered by public administrations to our societies. And that is something that matters a lot to me.

Part of your job entails helping customers optimize their energy efficiency. Where do you see the sector headed in terms of future energy efficiency? What role do renewables play?

I clearly see a major change in the energy sector. We may even call this a revolution and not just an evolution. More and more people, corporations, and countries see these major trends towards the 3 Ds: decentralization (more local sources of energy like rooftop solar), decarbonization (coal is receding, renewables are developing) and digitalization (digital is everywhere now).

I see the customers – be it residential customers, public or private sector entities – being more receptive about their impacts on the environment through the way they consume. What is great is that now, with constantly improving equipment and operating procedures, you can consume less energy but more efficiently.

Renewables will play a bigger role in the future. Even today, we see a lot of developments for wind and solar. And we are starting to pair them with batteries and electric vehicles to end up with a very efficient and environmentally friendly solutions.

What were some of the highlights of your experience as a 2017 French-American Foundation Young Leader?

The Foundation has put in place such a great program! The Young Leaders program offers a rare opportunity to meet with very inspiring people who have different backgrounds, experiences and views. This results in a very powerful team animated by the quality of its members and their diversities. The trip the Foundation organized to San Francisco this year was a great way to get to know one another better and to meet with forward-looking people in order to open our minds to new possibilities.

What is the most challenging part of managing a large company with a great deal of infrastructure? And what is the most rewarding aspect?

ENGIE has a very diverse set of activities, from power plants to energy efficiency offers. This diversity is clearly an asset in our permanently evolving world, but a challenge as well since you have to give a common purpose to all these different employees. But that is also the most rewarding aspect of it: when you work with the teams and you see that everyone is onboard with the strategy and the vision, it is a great achievement! And it is a great recipe for success since the most competitive organizations are those that have that common purpose (the “raison d’être” or those who can answer “why” they exist). At ENGIE, our common purpose is clearly to contribute to harmonious progress.

Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies?

I love spending time with my family – my wife and my two young daughters. Otherwise, running, kitesurfing, and snowboarding are my favorite sports.

 

Learn more about Frank Demaille