Multinational energy giant GDF Suez will henceforth be called “Engie,” a name that reflects the global transition to a decarbonized, renewables-rich, energy-efficient, and digital economy, the company said on April 24.
“As the world changes, all energies change with it,” the largest independent power producer in the world said in a statement announcing the rebranding effort.
The new name—which “evokes energy for everyone in all cultures,” as outgoing chairman and CEO Gérard Mestrallet put it—demonstrates the company’s “new ambition and dynamics of change.” Mestrallet, 66, is to be soon succeeded by Isabelle Kocher, 49, who is currently GDF Suez’s deputy CEO.
The name “GDF Suez” evolved from the 2008 merger between former French monopoly Gaz de France and Suez SA. The French government owns a third of GDF Suez, though France is reportedly laying the legal groundwork to sell its stake.
While the company has major holdings in the world’s natural gas and energy services markets, it is also a heavyweight generator. At the end of 2014, it had 115.3 GW installed around the world and 10.5 GW under construction, including 19 GW of renewables.
The rebranding move follows the French energy group’s decision announced this February to implement short-term restructuring measures.
In 2014, the company faced a number of challenges, including plunging global oil prices, falling gas sales in France owing to mild weather, a drought in Brazil that disrupted hydropower operation, and problems at nuclear plants in Belgium that temporarily shuttered three reactors.
The company’s new mission statement, meanwhile, reflects a new business model, which is “based on responsible growth to take up today’s major energy and environmental challenges: meeting energy needs, ensuring the security of supply, fighting against climate change and maximizing the use of resources.”
According to the group, that will mean following up on a recently published position on global climate talks. An international agreement at the COP 21 summit in Paris this December is critical, it says, and it should enable all countries to continue on the path of economic growth.
However, it should also focus on the general introduction of carbon pricing by prioritizing recourse to carbon trading markets, the company says.
—Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)