GTT’s new chief executive Jean-Baptiste Choimet has a tough gig on his hands at the end of July.

Not only does he have to present his first quarterly results briefing for the French membrane cargo containment system designer, but he has to do it on the opening day of the Paris Olympics.

Choimet has got that covered and is opting for a virtual rather than in-person event as the French capital prepares for a lockdown on cross-city travel as one of the world’s biggest sporting events kicks off.

Paris already feels busier than normal and slightly more febrile with a snap election in play when TradeWinds visited.

But the new man at the helm of GTT exudes composure and a bubbling enthusiasm for his new role, which he formally took up on 12 June.

There is just a tinge of the day-after-the-night-before about the room. It is hardly surprising.

Hours earlier, former GTT chairman and chief executive Philippe Berterottiere, who will retain the chairman role, was on stage at a party for 350 held in his honour, rocking a pair of shades and belting out the lyrics of the late Johnny Hallyday alongside a lookalike of his idol.

But Berterottiere, who headed GTT for 15 years, is no lightweight and has already attended a 7.30am meeting.

“It has been a journey,” he said commenting on his time as CEO.

He joined the company when GTT was battling problems with its Mark III LNG cargo containment system, and he saw GTT through its stock listing in 2014 and growth into new LNG sectors, ethane carriers, digital innovations and more recently its dive into hydrogen.

“All that has been very exciting,” Berterottiere said.

GTT chairman Philippe Berterottiere (left) celebrates his time as CEO with his team and a Johnny Hallyday lookalike singing to a rendition of ‘L’envie‘ at a party held on 2 July. Photo: GTT

GTT opted to split the role of chairman and CEO two years ago and Berterottiere said he feels “very happy and relaxed” in Choimet’s selection.

“He knows the company” — Choimet joins from GTT subsidiary Elogen, which designs and assembles electrolysers for green hydrogen production. “He worked in LNG before. He likes technology,” Berterottiere said.

Choimet said it was his personal decision to apply for the CEO role. “The challenge was extremely exciting,” he said. “I have quite a long story with LNG … I missed it.”

The new GTT chief has tangled with the whole LNG chain, starting his career at EDF, which was then developing the Dunkerque LNG terminal in France.

Choimet moved on to work with Societe Generale, which was building a gas trading desk, switching back to the industrial side when this business ceased and joining Technip, where he worked on liquefaction projects.

He said working with downstream regasification and upstream on liquefaction has helped him understand the fundamental role of “the brick in between — the LNG carrier”. “You don’t mess around with LNG carriers because they are moving [LNG] around between expensive assets.”


Choimet gave himself three priorities for his first month in the job.

First, he planned to meet the key counterparts in the group — the yards, the shipowners, charterers and energy companies.

GTT snapshot
  • Formed: 1964
  • Headquarters: Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse, France
  • Employees: 750
  • Listed: Euronext Paris
  • Revenues 2023: €428m
  • Subsidiaries: Elogen, Ascenz-Marorka, Cryovision, GTT Training
  • GTT Strategic Ventures: €25m investment fund for climate tech start-ups
    Source: GTT

Second was to maintain the relationship the company has with its investor and analysts.

Third, he wanted to spend time with GTT’s teams. He has served on the executive committee in his role as CEO of Elogen so has been concentrating on meeting staff he is less familiar with.

He admitted that the first objective is the most time-consuming and the “really critical path”. Duetting with Berterrotiere in handovers at Posidonia in Greece has been helpful but visits to London and Asia are also planned.

“They need to see us face to face to have trust and see that there is a continuity in the company,” he said. “We will keep taking care of our clients. We will keep nurturing the intimacy that GTT has created with its counterparties — yards, shipowners, charterers.”


So, is GTT about to broaden its technology base under its new CEO?

“I think we must remain focused on the cargo containment system. This is our history. It is what we are good at. This is something the company has patiently built over 60 years,” Choimet said. “Those are the jewels in the crown. We must nurture it. We must keep improving it.”

Over the years GTT has had its problems with its membrane containment systems on LNG carriers which it has largely attributed to workmanship on assembly.

Today, the company has large teams in China and South Korea to cope with the orderbook for supersize LNG carriers and new yards that have branched into the sector.

Choimet believes the way forward is to be close to the shipyards, helping them when designing and fabricating tanks and proposing design improvements to make jobs easier. “It is also a way to make sure things will get done properly,” he said.

“But in parallel, we need to look longer term and adapt the cargo containment system technologies. We certainly need to be open to other types of activities.”

Hot topic

Choimet said one of the hot topics on the table for the company is LNG as a fuel.

He said the company saw “a renewed appetite” for LNG-fuelling at Posidonia with some owners moving away from other alternative fuels simply because they are not available.

He said using LNG enables owners to reduce their emissions immediately and, once the payback period is over, gives them access to a relatively cheap fuel. “I think LNG is the answer,” he said.

GTT chief executive Jean-Baptiste Choimet (left) speaks to former CEO Philippe Berterottiere about once a week. Photo: Lucy Hine

Choimet said GTT is working on solutions where the bunker tank can be ready for other fuels when they reach maturity.

He said GTT’s technology is also applicable for the incoming breed of ultra-large ethane carriers and will allow owners and charterers to move larger cargo volumes on a lighter ship with the optionality to use the same vessel for the carriage of LNG later.

GTT teams are also busy adapting existing or developing new technologies for the transport of alternative fuels and are watching the development of ultra-large ammonia carriers of between 150,000 cbm and 200,000 cbm.

The company is also focused on rolling out its digital offerings to help shipowners and charterers improve the efficiency of ships and optimise voyages.

Choimet said that GTT is developing carbon-capture technology which will be fitted to a pilot vessel next year, which it believes can capture between 25% and 30% of emissions.

“The plan at the moment is diversification for GTT,” Choimet said, acknowledging that the market is currently in an up cycle for LNG carriers. “We want to ensure we create value regardless of the energy cycles.”


An engineer by training, Choimet graduated from France’s Ecole Polytechnique before studying for a master’s in chemical engineering at Cambridge University in the UK on a course that also took him over to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US for a time.

The new boss describes himself as “transparent”, someone who is keen to enthuse colleagues to give them the desire to succeed and “calm — not wanting to get overexcited about things”. He comes across as quietly enthusiastic, energetic and slightly, but amusingly, enigmatic.

Outside work, Choimet said he enjoys skiing, sailing and kitesurfing as his colleagues bully him from the sidelines about trying out golf.

From his role of CEO of Elogen, Choimet said he is aware of what it takes to build and organise a company and create what could become a leading technology.

“What I experienced there is what GTT might have experienced a few decades ago,” he said. “We know what it takes, we know the effort it takes, we know we never arrive, we must keep working to bring value.”

Asked if GTT will be branching out into new areas, Choimet replied elusively: “We are curious people. Let’s work on it a little bit.”