ENGIE strengthens its local roots in Belgium and reviews the governance of Electrabel to create more openness

By ENGIE - 03 October 2019 - 19:10

Johnny Thijs and Etienne Denoël join the Board of Directors of Electrabel SA as external directors. Johnny Thijs becomes Chairman of the Board.


Belgium is a key country for ENGIE, which wants to make it a champion in energy efficiency. As ENGIE leads the country in green energy production, energy supply and energy efficiency for professional and institutional customers, it is in the best possible position to achieve this ambition in the service of Belgium and the Belgian people.


To make an even better contribution to the country’s climate - and energy-related challenges and improve its efficiency, ENGIE is reviewing the governance of Electrabel to create more openness and to further develop its roots in the country.


The governing bodies of Electrabel appointed five new directors, two of them external, on Thursday 3 October. Johnny Thijs and Etienne Denoël join the Board of Directors as external directors of Electrabel SA. Johnny Thijs becomes Chairman of the Board. Philippe van Troeye remains Managing Director of Electrabel SA.


The presence of Johnny Thijs and Etienne Denoël in the center of Electrabel’s governing bodies will enable the company to open up and to reinforce the dialogue between the company and its stakeholders. Their personalities are complementary. They are determined to strengthen the role of Electrabel SA, a fully-owned subsidiary of ENGIE, in contributing to the country’s climate- and energy-related challenges.


Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE says:

ENGIE’s ambition is to become a leader of the zero-carbon transition by offering its clients innovative, tailor-made and funded solutions. Belgium is a historic country but above all a country of the future for the Group, because it brings together all of our expertise. It is a crucial area where synergies have intensified in recent years and where we are convinced that the potential for energy efficiency is immense. I warmly welcome the arrival of Johnny Thijs and Etienne Denoël as external directors of Electrabel SA. Their extensive professional experience and their sensitivity to the realities of Belgian economic and social life will be of great value in making Electrabel more transparent and making its mission clearer in Belgium.


Johnny Thijs, Chairman of the Electrabel Board of Directors says:

I am enthusiastic about joining the Electrabel Board of Directors as Chairman. Energy efficiency is a huge challenge in Belgium. I am convinced that Electrabel can enable its Belgian customers to make a difference and that it will be a reference partner in enabling the country and its regions to achieve their climate and energy objectives. New capacity in renewable energy, mobility and tailor-made solutions for power-intensive users are some of the areas in which Electrabel is determined to move forward.


Etienne Denoël, Director of Electrabel: Strengthening the local roots of ENGIE and its subsidiaries can only be achieved by improving dialogue with stakeholders. It is in this spirit of openness and dynamism that I am joining Electrabel’s Board of Directors. Today, companies are no longer just economic actors. They have the role of moving the country forward - particularly through research and innovation - in response to the challenges that arise whilst creating a close network with all social actors.




Johnny Thijs began his career in Marketing & Sales with well-known groups active in mass consumption and mass distribution such as Rothmans Int., Master Foods and Kraft Jacobs Suchard. He joined the Interbrew Group (now AB Inbev) in 1991, and was appointed CEO Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific in 1995.


In 2002 Johnny became CEO of the Belgian postal service (now BPost). He successfully turned the business around and steered it through a partial privatisation in 2006, followed by a stock market flotation in 2013.


He left BPost in 2014 to become a Director of a number of private and listed companies. Johnny is currently Chairman of the Board of Recticel, Corealis, Golazo and Hospital Logistics, and a Director of H. Essers. He also serves as an adviser to CVC and Lazard Benelux.

Johnny Thijs holds a degree in Commercial Engineering from the University of Hasselt.


Etienne Denoël is Director Emeritus of consulting firm McKinsey, for which he worked from 1987 to 2018 as a consultant to private companies and public sector institutions. He has undertaken a number of assignments in Europe and North America in the energy, industry and services sectors. In 2000 he established the McKinsey Solutions, Research and Knowledge Center in Belgium (Louvain-la-Neuve).


Since 2007, he has also been involved in education, supporting a range of initiatives such as the non-profit organisation Teach For Belgium, the Foundation for Education (Fondation pour l’Enseignement) and the Pact for Excellence in Teaching (Pacte pour un Enseignement d’Excellence), an initiative sponsored by the Government and organisations in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. In September 2018, he left McKinsey to become CEO of Act for Education (Agir pour l’Enseignement), also a non-profit organisation.


From 1984 to 1986, he worked for Philips as a research engineer in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems.


Etienne holds a degree in Electrical Civil Engineering from the Université Catholique de Louvain (1978-1983) and three additional Master’s degrees:


  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1983-1984)
  • Special Degree in Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles (1984-1986)
  • Master of Science in Engineering & Economic Systems Stanford University, Palo Alto (1986-1987)

He is a Fellow of the Francqui Foundation and the Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF).


The Board of Directors of Electrabel SA :

  • Johnny Thijs, Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Philippe Van Troeye, CEO
  • Paulo Almirante
  • Pierre Chareyre
  • Etienne Denoël
  • Judith Hartmann
  • Cedric Osterrieth
  • Thierry Saegeman
  • Patrick van der Beken