Joseph McMonigle officially assumed his position on July 1, 2020 as the fifth Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), the largest international organization of energy ministers and based in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
He has over 20 years of experience working on energy issues in the public and private sectors.
Prior to becoming Secretary General, Mr. McMonigle was the President & Co-Founder of The Abraham Group, a leading international energy sector management consulting firm based in Washington D.C. as well as a senior energy analyst for Hedgeye Risk Management based in Stamford, Connecticut.
Head of International Relations & Division Director of External Affairs
Acting Director of Administration
Lina Murad is the Head of International Relations and Division Director of External Affairs after previously serving as a Government and International Relations Officer at the IEF. Ms. Murad is also the acting Director of Administration.
In her new role, Ms. Murad manages the Secretary General’s office. She will lead all external affairs of the IEF including with Governments and Member Countries, Executive Board, other international organisations, private sector and other key stakeholders of the IEF. She serves as the main point of contact for all ministerial meetings and high-level events as well as the lead contact for relations with IEF host government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Ms. Murad was one of the first staff members of the IEF Secretariat after working at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as several diplomatic missions based in in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
She studied political science and is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
Christof van Agt is the Director of Energy Dialogue and leads IEF programs that advance producer-consumer country energy dialogue and collaboration through IEF ministerial fora, stakeholder meetings with partner organisations, and other government platforms such as the G20.
His work at the IEF includes coordination of the trilateral work programme with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as collaboration on energy security, market transparency, and orderly and inclusive transitions with other institutions, industry stakeholders, national agencies, and research centers. Until his appointment as a Director, van Agt was a Senior Energy Analyst in the Energy Dialogue Division.
Prior to joining the IEF, van Agt was a Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael International Energy Programme with the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael where he published and trained international relations and energy market dynamics to diplomats and private sector trainees.
Other previous assignments include: International Energy Agency (IEA) as Programme Manager for the Caspian region, Energy Charter Secretariat negotiating international energy frameworks, and the European Commission External Relations Directorate on technical assistance in the energy sector of Central and Eastern European Studies.
His 28-year association with energy and international relations began with a placement at the Institute for International Energy Law of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands 1992 where he studied Russian and multidisciplinary studies on Eastern Europe.
Head of Global Communications
Tom Ashby is Head of Global Communications and Director of the Communications Division, responsible for managing the reputation of the forum. Tom is the chief spokesman and oversees all content, branding, digital media and relations with journalists.
He was previously Group Vice President, Corporate Communications at Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and spent several years as a strategic communications advisor to clients including heads of state and sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Africa. He is a founder and advisor at start-ups in fintech, investor relations advisory and public relations. He began his career as a journalist with Reuters, working his way up from an energy markets reporter in London to postings as a foreign correspondent in Latin America and chief correspondent in Nigeria. He moved to the Middle East as Business Editor of The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi.
Mr Ashby holds a bachelor's degree in French with African and Asian Studies at Sussex University in the UK and has a certificate in Big Data and Social Analytics from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a certificate in Financial Technology from Oxford University. He served for six years as an executive board member of the Middle East Public Relations Association.
Dr Leila R. Benali is Chief Economist. She acts as chief advisor to the Secretary General, Ministers and IEF Executive Board on strategy, energy markets and data. She also manages the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI), which aims to improve data transparency in energy markets.
Dr Benali was previously Chief Economist and Head of Strategy and Sustainability at the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP). Before that she held roles at Saudi Aramco, IHS Markit, Sciences Po and Schlumberger.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from Mohammadia Engineering School and the Ecole Centrale Paris, in addition to a Master’s in political science and PhD Summa Cum Laude in Energy Economics from Sciences Po. In 2019, she was appointed by HRH King Mohammed VI of Morocco as a member of the country’s New Development Model Committee.