GCCA Conference 2020: Speakers

Please check back soon for more information on this year’s speakers.

Gavin Esler, Conference MC

Gavin Esler is an award winning television and radio broadcaster, writer and journalist. He is also an event host, a moderator for business conferences and a lecturer on subjects as diverse as British and American politics, communications and the future of the media. He delivered the prestigious 2017 Magnusson Lecture on how institutions and individuals can build trust — and how to recover if they lose it. He has spoken on similar themes with groups as diverse as senior British military officers, financial consultants, lawyers, senior public officials, politicians and leaders of international corporations. He has hosted conferences with business and political leaders in venues in the United States, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Turkey, the UAE, and all across the UK and Europe.

Gavin recently hosted The Big Steal podcast – exploring the story of two men with very different ideas. One a rising star in business and the head of Yukos – a huge oil company: Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The other a former KGB officer who rose through the ranks to  become President of Russia: Vladimir Putin.

Gavin is the author of five novels (Loyalties, Deep Blue, The Blood Brother, A Scandalous Man and Power Play) His first non-fiction book, The United States of Anger predicted the political upheavals and discontent in the United States which produced the Trump presidency. His most recent non-fiction publication, Lessons from the Top, was originally inspired by conversations and interviews he conducted with world leaders including Bill Clinton, Angela Merkel, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and other successful communicators from business, the military and popular culture, including Dolly Parton and Angelina Jolie. The book examines how successful leaders use stories to educate, persuade and bring about change, and how to build trust with potential followers or customers in an increasingly uncertain world. In 2019 Gavin turned his journalistic eye to Brexit – publishing Brexit Without The Bullshit: The Facts on Food, Jobs, Travel and the NHS. Described by the philosopher AC Grayling as explaining with ‘stark clarity the effects a Brexit will have on every significant aspect of our lives. It is the clearest, most uncompromising & most valuable statement of the facts available…’

Gavin is known for his presenting work at the BBC. He  has been the main presenter on Dateline London and The Film Review on the BBC News Channel and BBC World and a regular presenter on numerous other programmes, including Hardtalk . He was the BBC’s Chief North America Correspondent for eight years, based in Washington, and has reported all over the world, including China, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Russia, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and from the Aleutian Islands, as well as all across Europe. On returning to the UK from eight years as the BBC’s North America editor, he joined the presenting team on the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme Newsnight. Currently he is also a columnist for The National, an English language newspaper based in the UAE with a worldwide circulation.

As well as being a BAFTA member, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the holder of a Royal Television Society Award, Gavin was also presented with a Sony Gold Award for his BBC Radio 4 programme, Letters from Guantanamo.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency

Dr Fatih Birol has served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency since September 2015. He was re-elected in January 2018 for a second four-year term, which began in September 2019. Under his leadership, the IEA has undertaken its first comprehensive modernisation programme since its creation in 1974. This effort focuses on three pillars: opening the doors of the IEA to include major emerging countries, such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa who have joined the IEA Family, thus increasing its share of global energy demand from 38% to almost 75%; broadening the IEA’s security mandate to natural gas and electricity as well as oil; and making the IEA the global hub for clean energy technologies and energy efficiency.

Dr Pratima Rangarajan, Chief Executive, OGCI Climate Investments

Dr Pratima Rangarajan is Chief Executive of OGCI Climate Investments. Before joining OGCI Climate Investments, Pratima was the General Manager for GE’s Onshore Wind Product Line and the General Manager for GE’s Energy Storage startup. She had previously held the role of Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Emerging Technology and Research at Vestas Wind Systems.

Pratima’s early career included technology and research development roles in both GE and ExxonMobil. Pratima has a PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton University and a BS in chemical engineering from MIT.

Plenary Panellists

Dr Dominik Von Achten, CEO, Heidelberg Cement​ 

As of 1 February 2020, Dr. von Achten has been Chairman of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement. In the Managing Board, he has the direct responsibility for Strategy and Development, Communication & Investor Relations, Human Resources, Legal, Compliance, Internal Audit, Digital Transformation Office and Digital Venture Office.

Daniel Balthasar, Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Basic Industries & Utilities, Norges

Daniel is a Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Basic Industries and Autos/Sector Strategies at Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM). 

NBIM manages the Government Pension Fund Global, Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund. With investments in more than 9,000 companies worldwide and a fund value of more than 10,000 billion Norwegian Kroner, it is one of the world’s largest investors. On average, the fund holds 1.5 percent of all of the world’s listed companies.

Daniel joined NBIM in 2006 and is a CFA Charterholder.

Gerard Bos, Director, IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme 

Gerard Bos is Director of the Global Business and Biodiversity Programme at the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2012. He is passionate for driving Transformational Change through multi-sector collaborative platforms with the aim to challenge current and future business models of the corporate sector. 

Jan Jenisch, CEO, LafargeHolcim 

Jan is committed to leading the way in green construction to drive a net zero future. Putting innovation and digitalization at the core of Company’s strategy, Jan is driving greener and smarter solutions from EcoPACT green concrete to Susteno circular cement.  

Jan is a Member of the Executive Committee of The World Business Council for Sustainable Development as well as of the Global Cement and Concrete Association. He is also a Member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. In addition he serves as a Member of the Board of Directors at Glas Troesch SA.

Previously Jan was the CEO of Swiss-based Sika (2012-2017), a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the building sector and motor vehicle industry. 

María Mendiluce, CEO, WeMeanBusiness​ 

María Mendiluce was appointed as CEO of the We Mean Business coalition in 2020, at the start of a critical decade for climate action.  The We Mean Business coalition brings together seven international organisations: BSR, B-team, CDP, Ceres, CLG Europe, The Climate Group and WBCSD, which together catalyse business leadership and policy ambition to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy. 

Araceli Fernandez Pales, Senior Energy Analyst, IEA

Araceli Fernandez coordinates the modelling and analysis of demand sectors in the Energy Technology and Policy division of the IEA since 2019. In her previous role, she led the analysis related to the industrial sector in the same division since he joined the IEA in 2012. Before joining the IEA, Araceli worked for about seven years, in different areas in the Oil & Gas sector including process optimization and emissions monitoring at refinery sites for BP, as well as designing thermal equipment and steam reforming units for green-field refinery and petrochemical projects. Araceli holds a MEng in Chemical Engineering and a MSc in Process Engineering.

Mahendra Singhi, Managing Director and CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited 

Mahendra Singhi is Managing Director and CEO of Dalmia Cement, a prominent cement manufacturing group in India which is ranked no.1 globally by CDP on Low Carbon Economy Transition and recognised by the UN Secretary-General on climate innovation. He is one of the five global Climate Defenders recognised by BBC World. 

He has represented business and the cement sector globally on the most prominent multi-country platforms such as the Climate Action Summit at the UN General Assembly on 23rd Sept. 2019 on invitation of UN Secretary-General; the Paris Climate Agreement Ceremony on invitation from Ex. UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon; Global Climate Action at COP24 on invitation of UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Ms. Patricia Espinosa; and High-Level government-business dialogues invited by the French Presidency.