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24.9.2018 - Obituary

Dr. hc. MICHAEL KOHN (1925 – 2018)

Portrait Dr Michael Kohn copy

Dr. h.c. Michael Kohn, Chairman of the ICC Energy Commission 1980 – 1994 passed away in Zurich on September 7, 2018 at the age of 92 years.


The ICC held its first Energy Conference in Lisbon in 1980. One of the conclusions of the conference was that the ICC established an Energy Commission under the chairmanship of Michael Kohn (Switzerland). His long chairmanship lasted 14 years, until he stepped down in 1994. As Honorary Chairman, he then continued as an active member of the Commission for many years representing Switzerland.


During Michael Kohn´s chairmanship many energy and environment related ICC policy papers and statements were prepared and published at relevant fora, e.g. Policy Statement on the Uses of Nuclear Energy and Coal 1981, Study on Energy Conservation in Industry 1985, Policy Paper on Some Principles of Energy Consumer Taxation 1987, ICC Energy Commission Report Nuclear Energy After Chernobyl 1989 and ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development 1990.
During Michael Kohn´s era cooperation relations were set up with the ICC Commission on Environment , the World Energy Council WEC and UNEP. Strong business delegations were organized for participation and lobbying in the process of sustainable development: e.g. Bergen Conference Action for a Common Future 1990, Second World Industry Conference on Environmental Management WICEM II in Rotterdam 1991, UN Conference on Environment and Development UNCED, Rio 1992 , UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Convention on Biodiversity and UN Commission on Sustainable Development (Agenda 21).

Michael Kohn, born in 1925 in Zurich, was a civil engineer, received a Doctor honoris causa of the technical University Zurich (ETH), was President of the Administrative Board of engineering company Motor Columbus AG, first CEO of the nuclear power plant Gösgen and later Chairman of the Paul Scherrer Institute, Würenlingen.


We, who had the honor and pleasure to work with Michael Kohn, knew him as an intelligent, active and charismatic leader and spokesman of the business community, and also as a friend.


Juhani Santaholma
former Chairman of the ICC Energy Commission