Etienne Davignon, President of CSR Europe
Born in Budapest (Hungary) on October 4, 1932
Married, 3 children
Doctor of Laws, LLD
Minister of State
In 1959, Mr. Davignon joined the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was Head of the Cabinets of Ministers Spaak and Harmel. From 1969 he was responsible for the Political Department of the Ministry until his departure in 1977 when he joined the EEC.
During his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was directly involved with Belgium's policies in Africa, the independence of Rwanda and Burundi and the solution to the Belgium and Zaïre conflict.
He was also a key figure behind the report on the future of the Atlantic Alliance (Harmel report) and he presided the committee which prepared the first proposals regarding political cooperation between EEC members (Davignon report): 1974-1975.
Following the oil crisis in 1973, Mr. Davignon chaired the International Conference which established an oil sharing treaty. From 1974 to 1977, he was the first President of the International Energy Agency created November 18, 1974.
After leaving the civil service in 1977, Mr. Davignon was appointed Vice President of the EEC, in charge of industry, research and energy up until the end of 1984. During this period he was active in the restructuring of European industry (steel, textiles, synthetic fibres) and promoting new research cooperative ventures in Information Technology and Telecommunication (Esprit, Race). He negotiated on behalf of the EEC, key agreements with the US, Japan and China.
In the beginning of 1985 he joined Société Générale de Belgique, Belgium's leading holding company of which he became Chairman on April 11, 1989 and Vice-Chairman on February 28, 2001. Since October 31, 2003 he serves as Vice-Chairman of Suez-Tractebel, part of GDF SUEZ Group.
Mr. Davignon is Chairman of CMB, Recticel, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Fondation P.-H. Spaak, the Royal Institute for International Relations, Ichec and the Bilderberg Meetings.
He is also a member of the Board, Sofina and Royal Sporting Club d'Anderlecht.