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Pierre Etienne Franc

Vice President Advanced Business and Technologies WBU, Air Liquide

BACKGROUND / Professional and educational background:

Pierre-Etienne Franc joined the Air Liquide Group in 1995 as strategic analyst for the Group general management. He then was Business Manager for energy markets (1997), Vice-president Strategy of the Venture Services Division (1999) and Vice-President in charge of the Metals Market (2001). From 2005 to 2008, he has served as CEO and Business Director of Air Liquide Large Industry operations in Benelux and then became Growth Program Director of the corporate strategy plan “ALMA”.

Since June 2010, Pierre-Etienne Franc supervises a portfolio of advanced businesses and technologies initiatives, in the fields of energy and environment (including H2 energy activities), space, aeronautics, cryogenics and the venture capital arm for the group (created in 2013). This portfolio has been turned into a World Business Unit in 2016, called advanced Business and Technologies WBU. It gathers 1500 people in several companies.

In 2011, he has been elected (& reelected in 2012 and 2014) Chairman of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the European Platform financing Hydrogen and Fuel Cell sector, with a budget of 1,4 BN€ within the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union.

Pierre-Etienne Franc is a graduate from HEC Paris.

He is author of two books (“Le Management du Client”, Eyrolles, 1994 ; “Hydrogène, la transition énergétique en marche”, Manifesto/Gallimard, 2015).

Throughout all his carrier path, Pierre Etienne has been entrusted with positions pushing the group beyond its traditional boundaries, developing new offers around energy solutions, acquisitions in the field of services, opening new geographies for the group through large deals for the steel making industry, developing a new concept of site operations in Benelux, pioneering the group growth initiatives and currently in charge to invent and shape new markets for the group, including the broad economic and societal potential of the Hydrogen Economy, through new schemes of cooperation, including Public Private initiatives and alliances strategies.

ACHIEVEMENT / What does the project/initiative/startup/company you will be presenting at the Positive Economy Forum consist of?

Broadly how to open new markets for the Air Liquide group, with a focus on the ones triggered by the energy transition path.

More specifically, in the context of the Havre Forum, the initiatives launched around the development of alternative and non fossil mobility solutions, in order to foster energy transition, to move out of fossil and productive based paradigms and open new economic routes thanks to the climate urgency, with Hydrogen as the key enabler for it.

6 years of Chairmanship of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (www.fch-ju.eu) , the European Public Private platform to fund the sector, as an example of those partnership structures, critical to shape those new markets.

A book on the Hydrogen role in the energy transition, to summarize issues, challenges and the vast potential to change the world triggered by changing our energy sources and patterns (Hydrogen, the Energy transition in the making, Gallimard / Manifesto, 2015).

Personnally, foster alliances strategies between private players, public institutions and the society, as they will be tomorrow the key pillars of future sustainable markets.

LOCATION / Where do you lead your project/company (city, region and country)?

The organization purpose is worldwide, with particular focuses on US, Japan/Korea, Europe.

IMPACT / How do you evaluate the economic, social, politic and environmental impact of your project / action?

Broad economic, social and political implications would be triggered by the successful achievement of a sustainable energy, with Hydrogen as its key enabler.

As for Hydrogen only, in mobility applications, the conversion of 1% of the world fleet to Fuel Cell technology would mean 15 billions € of business. As for socio and political implications, economic value distribution, reshaping of energy geopolitics, of energy management, centralized / decentralized schemes, a complete re-consideration of our relations with environment, territories and the scarcity of resources, all those shifts could trigger a profound change in the world we live in.

QUOTE / A sentence, quotation or a word that best describes you

“Changing Energies is changing the world” (personal conviction).

“As for the future, the issue is not to predict it, but to make it happen” Antoine de St Exupery

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