T&D World Magazine

Francois Meslier: ‘Exchange, Collaborate, Confront’

Francois Meslier has built an extensive international network over the past 40 years that has helped him to enhance his knowledge and understanding of the complex and exciting power industry. As secretary general of CIGRE, he is in the perfect position to do just what he recommends to participants in his sessions and courses: exchange, collaborate and confront different ideas.

“These are key success factors,” Meslier said. In fact, his ambition to join CIGRE was strongly linked to CIGRE’s goals of calling on international experts to exchange knowledge, share best practices and join forces for the power system.

CIGRE, the Council on Large Electric Systems, is preparing for its 44th Session on Aug. 26-Aug. 31, in Paris, France. This session will assemble more than 3000 senior executives, experts and specialists from the worldwide power industry to network, enhance their knowledge, and discuss new innovations. The conference features official presentations, panel discussions, technical meetings and poster sessions.

“Electricity systems are key for the development of our economy,” Meslier said. “We depend on it in our day-to-day lives. Energy is at the heart of our modern society.”

The importance of power in our society was what attracted Meslier to the field in the first place. Right after graduation from Ecole Polytechnique, he joined Electricite de France. “It has such a strong impact on our economy and plays a strategic role in our political system.” During his first years at EDF, he also became a Doctor in Management.

Meslier worked in several positions at EDF: project manager of the R&D division, head of the forecasting unit and head of network planning unit. He then moved on to be in charge of a business unit east of Paris that included the transmission network and three coal-fired power plants, overseeing sales to large customers. He was also director of the French transmission network in the 1990s, then the executive director of EDF in the French overseas department. His last role was at the General Directorate, to speed up the process of developing interconnection lines around France.

He had experience with conferences and technical publications throughout his 40-year career. He said that he has participated in the writing of international technical publications and brochures, and some of them have been presented at international conferences such as the CIGRE session and IEEE, CIRED, Eurelectric and PSCC.

He tells participants in his sessions that they should exchange, interact and develop their networks with people within their field and beyond. “You may discover one day that they have become your ‘friends,’” Meslier said.

Meslier may be outgoing and collaborative in his role at CIGRE, but he is a big reader in his spare time. “I am also fond of classical music, with a strong interest in baroque music,” he said. “I watch movies, go to museums and enjoy exercising in the gym.”

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