Board of Directors

Reji Kumar Pillai – Chair

Reji is the President of India Smart Grid Forum ( since its inception in 2011 and is an internationally renowned expert with over three decades of experience in the electricity sector in diverse functions covering the entire value chain and across continents. He is spearheading a mission to leverage technology to transform the electric grid in India and light every home at affordable cost through sustainable developmental models. Reji played the pivotal role in formulation of the Smart Grid Vision & Roadmap for India (August 2013) and the launch of a National Smart Grid Mission (March 2015) by Governmentof India, issue of Model Smart Grid Regulations (June 2015) by Forum of Regulators; and issue of Standards for Smart Meters (IS 16444 -2015 and IS 15959 Part 2) by Bureau of Indian Standards.

He is presently advocating for a “Right to Electricity Act” that will ensure lifeline supply of electricity to all citizens in the country. His current areas of research include: WiFi as Last Mile Connectivity Solution for Smart Metering, Smart Grids as Anchor Infrastructure for Smart Cities, Development of Smart City Maturity Model, Grid Interactive Buildings and Campuses (Smart Microgrids that can participate in evolving transactive  energy market), Future of Transportation; and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Standards for India.

As an entrepreneur, Reji has built successful enterprises in India and overseas and exited them. Reji has studied Engineering, Finance, Management and Law; worked with NTPC and IBM and has been senior consultant with ADB, World Bank and USAID. A recognized thought leader in smart grid technologies and concepts of smart cities, Reji is a popular key-note speaker at international symposiums and conferences on smart grids and smart cities. He has also contributed to several articles and books; and write a fortnightly column “Smartening India” on VCCircle Weekly (

In November 2016 Reji was unanimously appointed as Chairman of Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF).

Makoto-WatanabeMakoto Watanabe – Vice Chair

Makoto Watanabe joined the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI, now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1987. He has worked in various MITI bureaus and Agency for Natural Resources and Energy departments dealing with policies related to electricity, petroleum, ceramics manufacturing, construction materials, automobiles, and others. At the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, he gained experience in research evaluation and management. Since October 2015 Mr. Watanabe has served as an executive director of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, where he is in charge of the International Affairs Department, Smart Community Department and Kyoto Mechanisms Promotion Department. Mr. Watanabe has a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tokyo.

Alex Bettencourt – Secretary-Treasurer

Alex is a management consultant with over 10 years of extensive experience in the utility industry gained through his tenure at a global large management consulting firm, and as Managing Director of his own utility-focused consulting company, Elletrica. Consulting for various utility clients around North America,

Alex has deep expertise in the electric utilities business as a whole and has specialized in Transmission & Distribution Operations, with a focus on control room operations and massive business transformation projects. Alex is currently engaged one of the world’s leading Smart Grid projects, and is designing the new Smart Grid Control Centre. Known for his energy and drive, Alex has a B.A. in Economics from University of British Columbia and lives in Toronto.

Paul Budde – Communications Liaison

Paul Budde is the initiator and founder of Smart Grid Australia. He has been working with the electricity utilities since 2001 (UtiliTel). From 2004 onwards annual across industry Smart Grid roundtables have been organised by this group. In April 2008 this led to the launch of Smart Grid Australia Inc.

Paul is also the managing director of Paul Budde Communication (trading as BuddeComm), a global independent communications and digital economy research and consultancy company, which includes 45 national and international researchers in 15 countries.

His website ( has 2,000 research reports covering 170 countries, 400 companies and 200 technologies and applications. The company operates what is believed to be the largest communications research service on the Internet and has over 3,000 customers in 80 different countries.

Paul is frequently interviewed on radio and television current affairs and news programs, as well as by the leading national and international financial and business press.

He is also involved in the strategic development of the National Broadband Network with the Australian Government. He has led a team to advise the Obama Transition Team on new telecoms policies. He has provided similar advice and reports to the New Zealand Government. He has written a report on trans-sector innovations for the Dutch Government and is currently assisting the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development with global policy and strategy advice on broadband based trans-sector developments including smart grids.

Robert Wilhite – Board Memberrobert_wilhite_III

Rob Wilhite is a utility and energy industry leader with considerable experience in technical operations, consulting practice development, executive leadership, and industry visioning. At DNV KEMA, he provides leadership and direction to a worldwide team serving clients with advisory services for utility operations automation, business strategy, and markets and regulatory analyses. In prior industry roles, Rob has developed direct knowledge and experience in utility operations, including distribution engineering, metering, energy efficiency, marketing, and customer services. Currently, Rob has responsibility for a global business line and fulfills a role on DNV KEMA’s Global Leadership Team. He also serves as an officer for the Global Smart Grid Federation, as a Director on two industry boards (Utilimetrics and the GridWise Alliance), interfaces with the media on a regular basis, and is a frequent writer and presenter.

Rob was invited to participate in a private listening and action session on the smart grid and energy, as part of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in 2011. He was also named as one of the Top 25 Consultants in the U.S. by Consulting Magazine in 2009 and identified in 2012 as one of the Networked Grid 100 Movers and Shakers of the Smart Grid by Greentech Media.

kris_van_daeleKris van Daele – Board Member

Kris has more than twenty years of experience in sales and operational management in ICT. He sold his hardware maintenance business in 1988 to Getronics and worked there for years as manager and board member. Under his direction Getronics started with remote outsourcing services, a network & security operation center, datacentre and SAAS platforms. Since March 2010 Kris is the chairman of Smart Grids Flanders.

ja-kyun_kooJa-Kyun Koo – Board Member

Having been stayed for 10 years in academia as a professor of Business Administration, Ja-Kyun Koo, who turned into a business man in 2005, is leading LS Industrial Systems growth combining management principles with business practices in his corporate management.

In his inauguration as a new CEO in 2008, he announced LS Industrial Systems will open a new era of growth building global infrastructure with a long-term perspective.

Accordingly, he selected ‘Open Culture’ as a new organizational culture and is now concentrating on developing its R&D capability and human resources.

In addition, he released the corporate vision, ‘Green Innovators of Innovation’ in shaping the future of LS Industrial Systems providing and completing customers’ innovation beyond simply providing customers’ value. He also set up long-term business vision achieving sales revenue of 4.5 trillion won and operating profit of 700 billion won.

Given the nickname ‘Green CEO’, he will make green business as company’s new growth engine achieving more than 40 percent of sales revenue from it in 2015 by investing more than 140 billion won through 2011.

He also has been taking an active part in KSGA’s activities since its establishment in May 2009 as the first chairman. KSGA started with 19 members, but it has been gradually expanded with 136 members at present under his chairmanship.

Per-Olof Granström – Board Member

Per-Olof Granström is the Secretary General of EDSO for Smart Grids. EDSO is an association consisting of leading European Distribution System Operators – with
members representing some 70 percent of the points of electricity supply/electricity end customers in the European Union – cooperating to bring Smart Grids from vision to reality. Granström Joined EDSO in June 2011.

Granström has been devoted to the development of the integrated and deregulated energy market and has prior to joining EDSO been active in various positions in the European Energy sector; such as Director of European Affairs at Vattenfall, Executive Vice President at Swedenergy, Vice President/Director of trade at Nord Pool, the Nordic power exchange, and Head of Generation and Trade at Stockholm Energi.

Granström has a M.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Linköping University in Sweden and he is living and working out of Brussels, Belgium.

Steve Hauser – Board MemberGWA_16_HauserHeadshot

Mr. Hauser was recently appointed as CEO of the GridWise Alliance, a national industry led organization that promotes the modernization of the nation’s electricity infrastructure.  He is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on transforming the power sector to meet future economic, environmental, and energy security mandates. For more than 30 years, Mr. Hauser has been a leader in clean energy and smart grid technology development efforts including solar, wind, batteries, electric vehicles, GIS software, geothermal, microgrids, fuel cells, and building energy efficiency. He recently authored the lead chapter in a book titled “Smart Grid: Integrating Renewable, Distributed and Efficient Energy” published by Academic Press.

Mr. Hauser was the driving force behind the creation of the GridWise® Alliance, the Global Smart Grid Federation, and related smart grid organizations. Since 2000, he has brought together hundreds of companies to create a broad industry vision to transform the electricity sector, policies, markets, and technologies. Mr. Hauser has also led the creation of new international brands like GridWise® and GRID 21TM significantly raising the visibility of these issues with federal and state policy makers. He participated as a key advisor to the National Science and Technology Council’s Smart Grid Task Force resulting in the White House release of the “Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid”. He has held senior management positions at various companies and DOE labs.


Amos Lasker – Board Member

Amos Lasker is the former President & CEO, The Israel Electric Corporation Ltd. Lasker’s previous positions also include CEO, Gilat Satcom; private promoter of telecom projects; Founder & CEO of the med Group; Founder & Managing Director of Globescom investments ltd.; Founder, President & CEO of Gvanim cable TV ltd. Managing Director of Keren electronics Ltd.; VP Marketing & Sales at Telrad Industries ltd., and Finance division controller & Product Planning manager for Israel aircraft industries ltd. Lasker has an MA in Philosophy of Science from the Tel Aviv university; MBA from Tel Aviv university; and BA in economics from the Tel Aviv university.


Rob McNamara – Board Member

Rob helped establish SmartGrid GB with the assistance of its founding members. Rob’s role at SmartGrid GB includes running the secretariat for the group and project management and delivery. Before joing SmartGrid GB, Rob worked as Energy and Environment Programme Manager at Intellect – the UK trade association for the ICT industry. Prior to that role, Rob worked in the Public Relations office of the City of London Corporation and was a Senior Researcher on Anthony Seldon’s biography of Tony Blair, ‘Blair Unbound’. Rob has a BA (Hons) from the University of Warwick and an MSc from the London School of Economics.

Oscar-Miranda-MirandaOscar Miranda – Board Member

Oscar Miranda is co-founder and Chairman of Smart Grid Mexico, a non-profit organization whose mission is encourage the development and establishment of smart grids in Mexico regarding reliability, efficiency, security and sustainability principles. Smart Grid México is working to link together public and private institutions in order to encourage the harmonic growth of Smart Grid solutions in Mexico preserving the public interest.Oscar has more than twenty years of experience developing Information Technologies (IT) Solutions in the Mexican Energy sector. He is employed at Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) since 1993, where he has held various positions regarding IT. Currently, in CFE Oscar is responsible of IT Security, Software Strategy and Smart Grid IT perspective.Oscar Miranda has been member of several working groups and intergovernmental committees regarding IT, as a representative of the energy sector. Currently he is member of Federal IT Security committee, where he works on Industrial Control Systems Security and Critical Infrastructure.Oscar has a degree in Computing Engineering from National University in Mexico (UNAM), also he has studied Leadership, Innovation, Strategy and Corporate Government in several Universities in Mexico and USA. Currently, he is studying a master degree in Energy Management and their renewables sources at Technological Institute of Higher Studies at Monterrey, Mexico (ITESM).

New BoardKjell Sand – Board Member

Kjell Sand is currently acting as Scientific Manager in The Norwegian Smartgrid Centre and is employed at NTNU (The Norwegian University of Science and Technology) as associate professor at the Department of Electric Power Engineering.

He graduated as Electrical Engineer (M.Sc), 1976 from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and received his Ph.D degree from NTNU in 1987. His areas of research and project work has been within: Smart grids, Power system planning, power system asset and risk management, power quality, power system reliability, regulatory issues (monopoly regulation of TSOs and DNOs, benchmarking), power system tariffs and cost issues, design and development of power system analysis software (Network Information System development).

He has been active for many years in international work within CIGRE, CIRED, EURLECTRIC, IEC and CENELEC.

Nihat OzdemirNihat Özdemir – Board Member

Nihat Özdemir was born in Diyarbakır in 1950. He graduated as a mechanical engineer from the State Faculty of Architecture and Engineering in Ankara. In 1975 Özdemir successfully completed his masters degree in Industry in Ege University, the department of Architecture and Engineering.

Nihat Özdemir, who still acts as the chairman of the board, established Limak with Sezai Bacaksız in 1976. Ozdemir is also a member of the leading associations in Turkey.

As of December 2012, he was chosen as the chairman of the board of ELDER.

Paddy Turnbull – Board Member

Paddy Turnbull joined GE Energy in early 2010 as part of the European Leadership team for the Digital Energy Business. The Digital Energy business provides integrated smart grid solutions and reliable power delivery systems to electric utilities as well as the oil & gas, critical infrastructure and industrial sectors.

Paddy is focused on enabling GE customers to generate, move and consume energy more efficiently and is working on the development of smarter grids across Europe to cope with the challenges of the 21st Century.

He is also Chairman of Smart Grid Ireland, a not for profit advocacy body covering both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Paddy was a co-founder of this organization that has a twin track mission to articulate common issues that impact smart grid deployment in both jurisdictions. Smart Grid Ireland has produced White Papers on the case for the accelerated investment in the smart grid and the resultant economic benefits.

His 35-year business career includes senior management roles in BT and Fujitsu Telecom Europe. In this latter role he was country leader for Ireland for 10 years with responsibility for their European Operations strategy development. He has extensive international business development experience including 5 years as the VP of Sales and Marketing for a US owned VC start up in the medical device industry. In this role he was also the Chair of the trade association Bio Business NI.

Paddy has been an active member of several national working groups as part of Government task forces in the telecoms sector. From 2012 to 2016, he was the chairman of the Global Smart Grid Federation.

Knud PedersenKnud Pedersen – Board Member

Knud Pedersen is the Chairman of the Danish Intelligent Energy Alliance (DIEA) & Vice President, Distribution, DONG Energy. The DIEA was founded on the March 13, 2012 as a vision of the Danish Energy Authority (DEA). The DEA is an authority under the Ministry of Transport and Energy. The DEA carries out tasks, nationally and internationally, in relation to the production, supply and consumption of energy.

Prior to his work at Dong Energy, he has worked as the Head of Section in the Danish Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy; Energy attaché at the Danish Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy; and the Head of Department in the Ministry of Energy and the Danish Energy Authority.

Knud Pedersen has a MA in Economics from the University of Copenhagen in 1983.

Pascal RioualPascal Rioual – Board Member

Pascal Rioual is currently the  Acting Director of the innovation cluster CAPENERGIES

Pascal obtained his PhD in power electronics in 1994. He joined EDF R&D In 1994 and worked in this division, on diverse functions, during 12 years.

He joined the Insular Power Systems Division in 2007, in order to manage the electricity purchase and the supply demand in the non interconnected systems.

He was responsible for the project of installing a NaS Battery storage system on the island of Reunion. This installation was connected the 1st December of 2009.

These last years one of his activities were the questions of insertion for the intermittent renewables in relation with the institutions, the regulator and with the investor in electricity generation in order to adapt the rules of contractual framework, in the non interconnected systems.

He joined the innovation cluster CAPENERGIES, as acting director, on the 1st of December 2010.

Laurent SchmittLaurent Schmitt – Board Member

Born in 1972, Laurent Schmitt graduated in September 1998 from Supelec, Paris in France with a degree in Power System Engineering. He started his career in the Power Generation area with ALSTOM on Hydro and Thermal Plant Controls in Northern America. In 2000 Laurent moved to the Alstom T&D division, sold to Areva T&D, where he held positions as Sales Director for South-East Asia and Product marketing Director, covering applications for electrical protection, transmission and distribution substations, dispatching centres and energy trading platforms.

In June 2007, he was appointed Director for Strategy at the Areva T&D Automation Business Unit, working with the various French and international organisations focusing on the intelligent management of the energy network infrastructure. In 2008 he was appointed Vice-President for Strategy & Innovation for the Energy Management Business of Alstom Power to capitalize on Alstom Power’s expertise in the management and optimisation of generation of power generation assets.

Following the integration of Areva T&D’s activities within Alstom in June 2010, Laurent has joined the new Alstom Grid sector as Vice President for Smart Grid Solutions, in charge of developing Alstom’s offering on the Smart Grid segment worldwide.

Laurent Schmitt is member of several strategic industry committees working on Smart Grids such as CIGRE, IEC, EPRI and ENTSOe and contributes to several expert advisory taskforces to the European Commission , the International Energy Agency (IEA), and several university consortium including the University College Dublin , in the areas of  Generation, Smart Grid and Storage applications. He recently co authored a white paper on Smart Grids standards convergence published through the CIMUsergroup as well as on Smart Cities to the World Energy Conference.


Guido Bartels – Board Member & Emeritus Director


General Manager Nordics, IBM

Guido Bartels was appointed as IBM’s General Manager for the Nordic countries in August 2012. In this role he is responsible for all the company’s business in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Bartels currently also serves as a member of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s senior leadership team.

Prior to this, Bartels was General Manager, Global Energy and Utilities Industry, and was based in the New York area. In that role he became a trusted advisor to many governments and businesses regarding the transformation of the energy systems around the world. From 2007 to 2010, he served as Chairman of the GridWise Alliance (GWA), the leading U.S. smart grid advocacy organization, and helped grow its membership eight-fold. Assisting many other countries setting up similar organizations, he initiated in 2010 the set up of the Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF), an association of national and regional smart grid organizations which aims to help accelerate the modernization of the electric systems on a global scale. Bartels served as GSGF’s first Chairman from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he was appointed as GSGF’s first Emeritus Director in recognition of his vision which led to the creation and rapid growth of the organization. As the only non US citizen he also was for two consecutive terms a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC), comprised of the nation’s top experts in electricity policy, planning, and operations. And from its inception in 2011, Bartels has served on the Advisory Board of Energy Aid, a UK-registered charity dedicated to the global eradication of energy poverty.

Being a passionate spokesman for the transformation of the energy systems around the world earned him a variety of accolades, one of them from FierceEnergy, which ranked him in 2011 among the “15 Most Influential People in Energy”.

Previously he has held several sales leadership positions in Europe, where he started his IBM career. Bartels is a Dutch citizen and earned an MBA degree in business economics from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is married, has two teenage children and currently resides close to Copenhagen, Denmark.