ERT Mission

ERT strives for a strong, open and competitive Europe, with the EU, including its Single Market, as a driver for inclusive growth and sustainable prosperity.

ERT Members firmly believe that Europe’s prosperity depends on the competitiveness of the European economy, which in turn requires a sound, stable and well-managed political environment.

ERT advocates policies at both national and European level, aimed at creating conditions necessary to achieve its mission, which includes in particular:

  • The promotion and stabilisation of the European Union 
  • Maintaining and strengthening transatlantic relationships and open trade
  • Taking account of the citizens’ perspective and the role of industry in society as generator of growth and jobs in Europe.


ERT Structure

ERT derives its strength from the commitment and personal involvement of its Members. Membership is personal, not corporate and by invitation only.

ERT Members meet twice a year at Plenary Sessions,  where ERT’s work programme and priorities are determined. Decisions are taken by consensus.

The ERT Chairman, two Vice-Chairmen, the former ERT Chairman and five other elected Members form the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee reviews ERT activities and makes recommendations to the Plenary Sessions.

Each ERT Member nominates an Associate to act as a main point of liaison at working level and to help implement the decisions taken by Members.

Much of the work is done by the Working Groups established by the Plenary Sessions. They are chaired by ERT Members and comprise Associates and experts from the companies. The Working Groups present proposals to the Plenary Session and take a leading role in the drafting of official ERT messages and positions.

The Secretary General is in charge of a small ERT Executive based in Brussels which coordinates and organises ERT activities, acts as a contact point and provides administrative support, including for the Working Groups.

A short history of ERT and its achievements can be found in the "ERT Highlights", which includes a chapter devoted to the legacy of each ERT Chairman.

ERT Chairmen

Current Chairman

Carl-Henric Svanberg new ERT Chairman   Carl-Henric Svanberg (BP), since 2018

Past Chairman

Benoît Potier   Benoît Potier (Air Liquide), from 2014 to 2018


Discover the legacy of each Chairman by clicking on the pictures below (source: ERT Highlights):

Leif Johansson   Leif Johansson (Volvo/Ericsson), from 2009 to 2014

Jorma Ollila   Jorma Ollila (Nokia), from 2005 to 2009

Gerhard Cromme   Gerhard Cromme (ThyssenKrupp), from 2001 to 2005

Morris Tabaksblat   Morris Tabaksblat (Reed Elsevier), from 1999 to 2001

Helmut Maucher   Helmut Maucher (Nestlé), from 1996 to 1999

Jérôme Monod   Jérôme Monod (Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux), from 1992 to 1996

Wisse Dekker   Wisse Dekker (Philips), from 1988 to 1992

Pehr Gyllenhammar   Pehr Gyllenhammar (Volvo), from 1983 to 1988

ERT Highlights

The European Round Table of Industrialists was formed in 1983, a time when competitiveness was hard to maintain in fragmented European markets. The European economy had been plagued by rising inflation, soaring unemployment and declining growth. The commitments contained in the Treaty of Rome of 1958 remained unfulfilled and the European Council seemed unable to take decisive action.

With the active support of Etienne Davignon and François Xavier Ortoli, then Members of the European Commission, Pehr Gyllenhammar of Volvo, Wisse Dekker of Philips and Umberto Agnelli of Fiat decided to mobilise a group of leading industrialists to create a basis for truly European economic cooperation. In their view, what was needed was more concerted and decisive action at European level and a removal of all barriers to a truly single market.

Jacques Delors, past President of the European Commission (1985-1995) and one of the key advocates of the Single Market, has publicly recognised the important role played by ERT in this area.

From the start, ERT Members made plain that they would work to identify practical problems and suggest solutions.

A series of ERT reports have over the years contributed to an improved dialogue on European competitiveness between industry and policy-makers at both national and European levels.

A group of 17 businessmen came together to launch the European Round Table of Industrialists in Paris on 6-7 April 1983.

Founding Fathers

From left to right (top): Karl Beurle (Thyssen), Carlo De Benedetti (Olivetti), Curt Nicolin (ASEA), Harry Gray (United Technologies), John Harvey - Jones (ICI), Wolfgang Seelig (Siemens), Umberto Agnelli (Fiat), Peter Baxendell (Shell), Olivier Lecerf (Lafarge Coppée), José Bidegain (Cie de St Gobain), Wisse Dekker (Philips).

From left to right (bottom): Antoine Riboud (BSN), Bernard Hanon (Renault), François-Xavier Ortoli (EC), Pehr G. Gyllenhammar (Volvo), Etienne Davignon (EC), Louis von Planta (Ciba-Geigy), Helmut Maucher (Nestlé).


The publication "ERT Highlights" gives an overview of the development and achievements of the ERT and includes a chapter devoted to the legacy of each ERT Chairman.  Click the visual below to download the full publication. 

ERT Highlights