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Joan MacNaughton

Joan MacNaughton CB, Hon, FEI

Distinguished Fellow

Joan MacNaughton CB Hon FEI is an influential figure in energy and climate policy internationally where she has held a variety of roles.


Joan has extensive board experience in the public and private sectors. Currently she  chairs the annual assessment of countries’ energy policies for the World Energy Council, the ‘Trilemma’. She is Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Energy Academy of Europe; a trustee of The Climate Group; a member of the Council of Warwick University; and on the Board of the James Hutton Institute, as well as serving on other academic advisory Boards in Europe and the United States.


From 2007 to 2011, Joan set up and then led a team for Alstom, the global engineering company, spearheading the company’s clean power campaign. She served on the executive committee responsible for strategic and operational decisions for Alstom Power. After stepping down from that role, she acted as Alstom’s Global Adviser on Sustainable Policies.


Before her career in business, Joan was the most senior official in the UK Government responsible for energy policy as Director General of Energy in the then Department of Trade and Industry (2002-2007). She played a key role in shaping UK and international energy policy. She oversaw the energy agenda during the 2005 UK Presidency of the EU and led development of the Clean Energy Action Plan agreed at the G8 Gleneagles Summit that year. From 2004 to 2006, she was Chair of the Governing Board of the International Energy Agency, leading a review of the IEA’s strategy and the activation of the emergency response arrangements to the oil supply disruption caused by Hurricane Katrina. Her extensive international network covers energy and climate ministers, officials, and business leaders.


As well as serving on the Management Boards of several government departments, and chairing the Energy Board in the DTI, she was Principal Private Secretary (akin to chief of Staff) to the Deputy Prime Minister in Mrs Thatcher’s Government and to two Home Secretaries, and was the founding Chief Executive of an NDPB (the Police Information and Technology Organisation) responsible for multi-billion pound projects, including PPP’s. She served on the Board of Governors, Argonne Laboratory at the University of Chicago where she chaired the Budget Committee (budget $800m) and served on the Advocacy and Health and Safety Committees. In 2012 she was Vice Chair of the UN High Level Panel examining reform of the Clean Development Mechanism of the global climate treaty. For six years she was a Non Executive Director of a FTSE 250 company, a member of its Audit and Remuneration Committees, and chair of the Donations Committee.  She is an Honorary Fellow and former President of the Energy Institute. She has served on the Boards of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA), and the International Emission Trading Association (IETA) of which she is an Honorary Fellow, and was Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies from 2007-2013, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.


In 2006 she was made Companion of the Order of the Bath by HM The Queen. She has been married to Sir Bill Jeffrey since 1979.

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