"I came to the OECD with an atypical profile – instead of a background in economics, I held a Ph.D. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering (Harvard University) and an MBA (Collège des Ingénieurs). A dual French-American national, I had lived and worked in developing countries. My work experience had included work in international organisations and for the Marshall Islands government. My career motivation (contributing to sustainable development) demands a comprehension of how decisions are made in both the public and private sectors, in both developed and developing countries.
During my eight years at OECD, I led sixteen ‘environmental performance reviews’ of member countries. I used my analytical skills to help countries understand their own environmental performance, as compared to their own objectives and to their international commitments. I managed high level contacts with countries, and managed teams of international experts seconded from OECD countries, as well as senior analysts and statisticians within the Secretariat. Fortunately, when I decided to return to the private sector, the value of what I had learned was immediately recognised!
As Vice President, Research and Development (Air Liquide) since 2007, I manage the worldwide R&D activities of a Fortune 500 company. I orient a global innovation budget of EUR 230 million, and lead the population of 1000 researchers and scientists (35 nationalities, located in 8 research centers on 3 continents). My OECD experience helps in practical ways -- for example, my understanding of regulatory trends and international environmental negotiations helps me in making strategic decisions about what technological developments to prioritise for our company. Of course, being totally at ease leading multi-cultural teams is also essential, in a company present in 75 countries.
In short, my OECD experience gave me an in-depth understanding of public governance issues related to environment and technology. I apply this knowledge every day, in helping making strategic choices for the development of cleaner chemical engineering processes and renewable energy technologies."
Vice President, Research & Development, Air Liquide
Prior role at OECD:
OECD's Environment Directorate