Getting gritty with Lorenzo Simonelli

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We sat down with our Lifetime Achievement Award winners to get an inside view on how they view grit and leadership.  This week we met with Lorenzo Simonelli.

At ALLY we define GRIT as — Growth. Resilience. Innovation and Talent.

What part of grit resonates with you most personally? Professionally? And why?

If you had asked me this question in 2020 or 2021, I would have said “resilience” is most important due to the pandemic. However, right now I believe “innovation” and “talent” resonate with me the most because our industry needs continued innovation and talent to grow as well as to be resilient. Innovation and technology are core to advancing our journey towards a future with net-zero emissions, and our talent underpins all our innovation breakthroughs. I believe these two areas will be most important as we head into 2023 and beyond. I am excited to see what our talent in the energy industry does next!

At ALLY we believe role models are important. Who in your work and life have been role models of GRIT? Can you tell us who they are and what you learned from them? 

Jeff Immelt, Chairman & CEO of GE from 2001 – 2017, was a role model to me for many years. He also happened to be my manager for almost a decade. Jeff taught me that leaders must always be communicative and drive positive change within their organizations. He also taught me the importance of having a strong team I can rely on, especially in a global environment where the CEO or leader cannot be in every place at the same time. 

The energy transition is the single largest challenge of our lifetime. As a lifetime achievement award winner, if you look at what the end of your career might look like when you will retire — what will you be most proud of in our quest for a lower carbon future? What does that look like for the industry? What does that look like for you?

Nearly everyone with 10+ years experience in today’s workforce will be retired (or almost retired) when our organizations finally reach 2050 net-zero goals. I will certainly be retired before 2050, so my focus has to be on leaving a legacy that has driven action toward getting our industry well on our way to the 2050 goal. I realize that we will not solve for net-zero emissions by 2030 or 2040, but we must be able to point to those milestones and be proud of the actions we drove to make meaningful progress. When I retire, I believe the industrial world will have made meaningful progress in incorporating hydrogen and CCUS into operations, and we will have significantly reduced coal usage by increasing our use of natural gas.

In this sense, I will be most proud of our industry’s ability to move from commitments to action, and getting to 2050 must be a clear path that the future workforce can follow with ease.

Rapid Round / Getting to Know You

Favorite Band or Song and why?

Right now it is Ed Sheeran. We saw his show at Wembley Stadium in London earlier this year and he is an incredible musician.

The cost of gasoline when you got your first car. I cannot remember the exact amount but I do remember that petrol prices were under £1 per liter when I was in my university days in the U.K.

A person you would be keen to have dinner with (dead or alive) and why.

I know it may sound cliché, but I would like to have dinner with the two founders of Baker Hughes: Howard Hughes, Sr., and Reuben Baker. Both were incredible innovators in the energy industry, and I am sure I could learn some lessons about leadership, hardship, and tenacity from each of them.

Lorenzo was honored on October 26 at the GRIT Awards with a mayoral proclamation.  Here's his acceptance speech.





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