Interview with Transatlantic Forum Member Karine Rougé, SVP for Global Services at SUEZ

October 22, 2018

Q. As the SVP for Global Services with SUEZ, can you tell us about the most important program you are working on currently?

Growth, growth and growth! SUEZ recently acquired GE Water, which gave us a formidable portfolio of services to treat the water issues of our industrial customers. I am in charge of our global services division, with 2,000 employees globally. We have very high growth ambitions, and growth requires a new culture. This is what I spend most of my time doing – fostering an open, collaborative and agile culture. It starts by how I and my leadership team behave, and I can assure you that this is a transformational journey!

Q. What do you find most rewarding about your job and field of work?

What we do is treat water so that ultimately our clients preserve natural resources – by consuming less or ensuring that what is discharged in nature is clean. I feel my job has an impact on one of the largest environmental challenge of our times, this is in itself very rewarding.

And then on a day to day basis, I recharge my energy bank by spending time with my teams and our clients. This means lots of travels, but I enjoy tremendously getting to meet all these people in industrial plants all other the world – every time I learn something and feel I got the chance to meet someone I would not have met if I had stayed in banking.

Q. You used to be an investment banker with Goldman Sachs. What made you transition into water treatment?

I loved Goldman Sachs, especially what I would call the “we” culture, where teams are way more important than egos. But I really wanted to feel that I was contributing to something bigger than myself and having an impact on things that mattered to me.

Q. October is “Leadership Month” at the French-American Foundation. What do you look for in a leader? In your opinion, what makes a good leader?

I look for inspiration and for me this comes from courage, humility and intelligence. I am convinced that we are living a large transition in leadership style, whereby being a leader is not about the top of the pyramid but about a specific contribution you have to make as part of the team as everyone else. Egos are inefficient, but the ability to listen and adapt one leadership style to the needs of a specific situation is becoming absolutely key.

Q. You are one of the founding members of the Transatlantic Forum, the Foundation’s newest initiative.  What do you think of the program so far and how would you like to see it evolve in the future?

As a mom of two young kids travelling half of the time, I can tell you that it takes me a lot to get me out of home when I am in NY! The forum has been doing this for me because it has broadened my horizons and given me a fun space to keep learning about our world. I love the quality of the speakers, the reading beforehand, and of course the curious and diverse group of listeners.