Back to MGI Essay Prize

Meet the judges

The judging panel for the MGI Essay Prize: An Opportunity for Europe will be chaired by Pascal Lamy, president emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute, former director general of the World Trade Organization, and former EU Commissioner. Our judging panel is drawn from across Europe from academia, civil society, and the policy-making and business worlds. As of March 2016, members of the judging panel include:


Étienne Davignon
President of Friends of Europe; Minister of state of Belgium; former vice president, European Commission

Viscount Étienne Davignon is the chair of multiple organizations, including Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, SN Airholding, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Belgium, CSR Europe, as well as director at Gilead Sciences. Previously, he has held various positions at Société Générale de Belgique, including president and vice chair, as well as vice president of Suez-Tractebel after the merger of Société Générale with Tractebel. From 1977 to 1984, he was vice president of the European Economic Community’s Commission and commissioner for industry. Prior to that, he was president of the International Energy Agency and head of the cabinet of Belgium’s minister of foreign affairs.

Henrik Enderlein
Associate dean and professor of political economy, Hertie School of Governance, and director, Jacques Delors Institute

Henrik Enderlein is associate dean and professor of political economy at the Hertie School of Governance and the director of the Jacques Delors Institute. Since 2013, he has been a member of the independent advisory board to the German fiscal council (“Stabilitätsrat.”) Mr. Enderlein has held professorships at the Free University of Berlin and John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as well as chair at Duke University’s political science department. He holds degrees from Sciences Po in Paris and Columbia University in New York. He prepared his PhD in political science at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, and was awarded the Max Planck Society’s Otto Hahn Medal.

Reiner Hoffmann
President of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB)

Reiner Hoffmann was elected president of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) in May 2014. Previously he worked at the European Economic and Social Committee and the Hans Böckler Foundation, and he has served as director of the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels, deputy general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, and as regional chairman of the Industrial Union for Mining, Chemicals, and Energy for the Nordrhein district in North Rhine-Westphalia. He started his career as an apprentice, before winning a scholarship to study economics from the Hans Böckler Foundation.

Eric Labaye
Chairman of McKinsey Global Institute

Eric is a McKinsey director and chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute based in Paris. He was the managing director of the France office from 2002 to 2010 and led the firm’s global knowledge and communications function from 2010 to 2013. He has been a member of the Shareholders council of the firm for ten years. Eric works extensively for clients in the telecom, media, high-tech, and energy sectors as well as for public and health institutions. Mr. Labaye was a member of the Commission pour la Libération de la Croissance Française (Release Growth in France) and of the Commission Économique de la Nation (French National Economic Commission). He is a graduate from the École Polytechnique and Telecom ParisTech and holds an MBA with distinction from INSEAD.

Pascal Lamy
President emeritus, the Jacques Delors Institute; former director general, the World Trade Organization

Pascal Lamy was director general of the World Trade Organization from 2005 to 2013. He was chief of staff for the president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, from 1985 to 1994. He subsequently served as CEO of Credit Lyonnais until 1999, before returning to Brussels as European trade commissioner, where he served until 2004. He chairs or serves on multiple boards internationally and has been ranked repeatedly among the world’s most influential thinkers. Mr. Lamy holds degrees from HEC Paris, where he is now affiliate professor, the Institut d’Études Politiques, and the École Nationale d’Administration.

Andrew Palmer
Business affairs editor, The Economist

Andrew Palmer is the business affairs editor at The Economist, where he oversees the newspaper’s business, finance, and science coverage. Among other roles, he was previously the magazine’s finance editor and the Americas editor. He has authored special reports on international banking, property, and financial innovation. He is the author of Smart Money (Basic Books, 2015), about the good that finance can do. He has degrees from Oxford University and the London School of Economics.

Geneviève Pons-Deladrière
Director of the WWF European policy office in Brussels

Geneviève Pons-Deladrière took up her position as director of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) European policy office in July 2015. She is an honorary director of the European Commission. During her 22-year career there, among other roles, she was in charge of environment and climate matters in the cabinet of Jacques Delors, whom she accompanied to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. In her present function, she represented the WWF European policy office in New York for the adoption of the 2030 agenda and attended the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, or COP21. She holds a law degree from the Sorbonne and a diploma from Sciences Po in Paris. Ms. Pons-Deladrière is a graduate of the École Nationale d’Administration.

Sven Smit
Chair McKinsey Western Europe

Sven Smit is a director in the Amsterdam Office of McKinsey & Company. He leads our Western European region, and has decades of experience in serving telecom, high-tech and industrial companies across the globe. Sven is an expert on growth and performance as a co-author of Granularity of Growth and has wide experience in strategy and transformation of enterprise. Sven leads our perspective on the global economy, and develops global and country GDP scenarios leveraging our unique global growth model, anchored by 130 variables of consistent statistics over 30 years. Sven is a mechanical engineer with a degree from Delft University of Technology and holds an INSEAD MBA.

Ewa Szmidt-Belcarz
CEO of Empik

Ewa Szmidt-Belcarz is the CEO of Empik Group, the largest books, media, and entertainment retailer in Poland. In 2015, she was named one of the top 50 most influential women in Poland by Home & Market magazine. Before joining Empik, she was the first female partner at McKinsey & Company in Poland, and she worked in brand management at Cadbury Trebor Bassett in the United Kingdom, Henkel & Schwarzkopf in Germany, and L’Oréal in Poland. Ms. Szmidt-Belcarz holds a dual master’s degree from the Warsaw School of Economics and the London School of Economics, as well as an MBA from INSEAD in France.