Hélène Lagoutte: ‘I believe that gas has a role to play in the future of energy’


Hélène Lagoutte, international business leader at the French gas distributor GRDF, shares the lessons she learned as a leader and project manager of multiple groundbreaking IT and smart meter projects for utilities, as well as her vision on the role of technology and gas in future of energy.

This interview was originally published in The Global Power & Energy Elites 2022


I have thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Overstory‘ by Richard Powers. It is a scientific and poetic story about nature, specifically on how trees communicate with each other, through an intricate network of communication under the ground. Interestingly, this could be compared to the complexities and intricacies of life and in a global society where nothing works by itself, it is a complex harmony of continuous communication. Fragile yet robust networks that are having to constantly adapt and evolve to accommodate the climatic and social changes.

I also enjoy reading papers on sustainable innovations, political ecology, the necessary transition of the world, the new way to organise societies, and new urban European studies.


I have been leading large teams my entire career and I had to manage diverse and dynamic profiles. Some are driven by money; others are driven by their peers’ gratitude, volunteering their time; some are oriented on the good they do to others – three different drivers to achieve a specific outcome. Most of us are a mix of all drivers, which can be challenging as a leader.

Having the ability to navigate your team – large or specialist – to achieve the expected outcomes comes from having a clear vision for the team and being able to effectively illustrate and communicate the steps to achieving it. Together with a clear direction, a leader who is confident in their ability and that of their team can create an enabling environment for individuals to grow and take accountability for their role and performance within the team.


The energy transition is a major challenge in the coming years as energy is ‘the beating heart’ of activity in the world. Working in a gas company, I believe that gas has a role to play in the future of energy. The value of biomethane and of hydrogen specifically hold great potential for a sustainable fuel source. Gas is a domain that deals with complexity as there is no single resource: it is a harmony between the production of several resources which fit the environment. There is more than one solution.

About Hélène Lagoutte

For over 15 years, Hélène Lagoutte has been a leader, teacher, and adviser at the intersection of technology, utility operations, and community development. For five of those years, she was IT project manager of the world’s largest gas smart metering project – GRDF’s 11 million-meter deployment and network modernisation across France. In this position, Hélène focused on putting meter data into the hands of GRDF’s teams, partners, and customers to help increase operational performance, energy efficiency, and customer empowerment.