Fedil president Michèle Detaille said that being named Luxembourg’s most influential economic personality was an honour for industry, which often suffered a poor image.
Photo: Julian Pierrot / Maison Moderne
Four women were in the top 10 of Paperjam’s bi-annual ranking of the most influential economic personality in Luxembourg.
The head of the Fedil industry federation, Michèle Detaille has been voted Luxembourg’s most influential economic personality for 2020 by an independent jury of experts. Detaille was honoured at the bi-annual Paperjam Top 100 ceremony on Wednesday evening following a lengthy process that whittled down the short list from a long list of 1,000 names. The jury was presided by Aude Lemogne and comprised of Thomas Seale, Nicolas Henckes, Pascale Kauffman, Jean-Louis Schiltz, Françoise Kuth and Vinciane Istace.
Jury president Lemogne praised Detaille’s straight-talking, no-nonsense approach to business and lobbying as well as her promotion of diversity.
Accepting the award, Detaille said that the prize was an honour for industry, which often suffered a poor image of being pollutant and not sustainable. But industry would be the driving force behind energy transition she said. Detaille also said that the arrival of the vaccine, which marks the start of the end of the pandemic, was thanks to industry and science – just as masks, disinfectant gel and other vital contributions to stopping the spread of covid-19 had their origins and production in industry. She concluded by saying that courage was needed and had been shown in these difficult times.
Second place was awarded to another woman, Françoise Thoma, CEO of the Banque et Caisse d'Épargne de l'État, the state savings bank. The Spuerkeess chief thanked Maison Moderne for maintaining the Top 100 during the pandemic, which she said was a sign of Luxembourg’s resilience. The crisis has accelerated technological changes, said Thoma. Leadership had evolved and shown its human face while businesses have become more societal--the BCEE being central to much of Luxembourg society, she added.
Completing the podium was Nicolas Buck, the outgoing president of the UEL, which represents the grand duchy’s private-sector businesses. Buck said what unites the top 10 and the top 100 is a love of the country. Luxembourg is almost an accident of history, he said. The capacity to remain united and engage in social dialogue is vital, he said.
The Top 10
The remainder of the top 10 was made up of Cactus boss Laurent Schonckert, book shop retailer and president of the Confédération luxembourgeoise du commerce Fernand Ernster, Luxinnovation CEO Sascha Baillie, Luxembourg For Finance boss Nicolas Mackel, BIL CEO Marcel Leyers, Arendt & Medernach co-founder Philippe Dupont and the first woman to head up the OBGL trade union, Nora Back.
The Top 10 of the Top 100
Sasha Baillie said it had been “challenging as a woman to find my place in the economy, especially surrounded by mostly men." And she went on to talk about diversity, and the importance of the award in pushing the envelope not just for women but for people of different races and sexual orientation.
Nicolas Mackel joked that he still doesn’t have influence over his children cleaning up their rooms, even if he is among the top 10 most influential players in the Luxembourg economy. And he thanked his team at Luxembourg for Finance.
Nora Back said she was proud that a union representative was in the top 10 and that it was recognition of the influence of the trades unions and of the importance of social dialogue.
Delano will publish a picture report and a replay video of the event later this week.