Interview with Philippe Lepage, elected Director representing employees (CGT) who explains the role of an employee director and how it works with employees.
What do you think are the assets of ENGIE's Board of Directors?
The Board brings together both internal and external profiles and very varied sensitivities, enabling a rich and integrated dialogue on the various issues it faces. In line with this idea, the mix of ENGIE's management bodies - Executive Committee and Board of Directors - is also an advantage for the Group, as is internationalisation, which is correlated to its international development. Diversity within the Council allows information to be compared and thought to be decompartmentalised.
In your opinion, how do employees fit into ENGIE's governance?
In order to include employees in ENGIE's governance, every four years the Group organises elections for employee representatives - which is not the case in all companies, where they are sometimes appointed by the Board of Directors. ENGIE employees are represented by three Directors and one employee shareholder representative. In order to encourage employees to participate in elections, ENGIE has adopted a voting process directly via the Internet, via all types of platforms. In addition, employees receive proposals from candidates directly at their homes. In addition to their experience in terms of employee representation, Directors representing employees may be trained by the Institut Français des Administrateurs (IFA) and accompanied by their respective trade union organisations. For example, before being elected to the ENGIE Board of Directors, I held several mandates as a staff representative, as well as a mandate as an employee director in the Business Unit where I worked.
How does your role on the Board of Directors enable a better dialogue between governance and ENGIE employees? How does it contribute to the work of the Board of Directors and how do you communicate the work and decisions of the Board to them?
To strengthen dialogue between employees and Group governance, we offer employees the opportunity to ask their questions to their representatives. When an employee becomes a corporate officer, he must give up all his mandates and devote himself only to that of director, this is a French specificity. In this respect, the German system could be a source of inspiration. The director must be permanently available to the Board of Directors. We make a union communication after each meeting of the Board of Directors - in the respect of the confidentiality of the data. After the union communication is published, employees have the opportunity to ask us questions so that we can explain the strategic decisions taken by the Board of Directors.
The Director representing employees plays a key role on the Board of Directors, representing the direct link between employees and the Group's governance. Thanks to this function, I can sometimes be an alert launcher for ENGIE, a precious role contributing to solving certain dysfunctions.