The Great Grandson of the first Leader of Liverpool City Council has paid a visit to the city to discover his famous relative’s roots.
On a visit from France, Wilfrid Petrie, Executive Vice President of GDF SUEZ Energy Services in charge of Northern Europe and Chairman of Cofely Ltd, was shown round Liverpool Town Hall by the current city leader, Cllr Joe Anderson and the Lord Mayor, Cllr Frank Prendergast.
His great grandfather, Sir Charles Petrie, was elected to the City Council in 1890, becoming leader in 1899. He also held the post of Lord Mayor from 1901-1902, a position given to him as a reward for his services by the then-Leader, Archibald Salvage. He was made an Honorary Freeman of Liverpool in 1917.
In 1918 the Petrie Baronetcy, of Carrowcarden, Castleconnor, in the Barony of Tireragh in the County of Sligo, was created for him.
Wilfrid Petrie was in Liverpool to hear of ways in which he and GDF SUEZ can assist the on-going regeneration of the city having been invited following a meeting with Liverpool Vision and the Peel Group at the property event, MIPIM in Cannes this year.
GDF SUEZ Cofely were sponsors of Liverpool’s multi-award winning pavilion at last year’s World Expo in Shanghai.
M. Petrie said: “I’ve always been keenly aware of my Liverpool heritage and I love this city. I am very proud that my great grandfather held such an important role in civic life here and it’s been wonderful visiting the Town Hall where he was leader and Lord Mayor.”
He added: “Liverpool’s transformation over the years has been nothing short of remarkable and I am exploring ways in which GDF SUEZ can help in its renaissance.
“We already have a close association with the North West through Cofely, which could become stronger because there is so much potential for investment and collaboration over a range of projects.”
Cofely, a GDF SUEZ company, is the world’s leading provider of energy, technical and facilities services and has recently signed a 25-year total Facilities Management for the new Liverpool Central Library as well as contributing to the Liverpool pavilion in at the World Expo in Shanghai last year.
Cllr Anderson said: “When M. Petrie’s grandfather was leader in Liverpool, the city was one of the greatest international cities in the world and so it is fitting that he is visiting at a time when Liverpool is in the process of transformation with a renewed international outlook.
“It was wonderful to welcome him to the city to see where Sir Charles worked on behalf of Liverpool and I am so very encouraged that here is here today, not just to trace his past, but to see how he can become involved in Liverpool’s future.”
Notes to editors:
• Wilfrid Petrie supervises the Energy Services companies of GDF SUEZ in Northern Europe, such as Cofely, with main businesses in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Eastern and Central Europe and Russia. In 2008, total sales of GDF SUEZ Energy Services amount to €14 billion with 77,000 employees. Born in 1965, Wilfrid is a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and has managed services and district energy companies in both the United States and the United Kingdom before his current role.
• Sir Charles Petrie (1853-1920) was born in 1853 in County Mayo. As a young man, he moved to Liverpool for work, and became a fish and game merchant, working around St John’s Market for many years. He then became Director of the Coal Storage Company which occupied the Old Theatre Royal in Williamson Square. He was a "Democratic Conservative", part of new idea to capture the working class vote, which had been extended to the wider population under William Gladstone in 1868. Elected to City Council in 1890, he became Leader in 1899, during the period when the city's transport system was overhauled and the Tram system was introduced. The Petrie Baronetcy, of Carrowcarden, Castleconnor, in the Barony of Tireragh in the County of Sligo, is a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom and was created on 20 June 1918 for Sir Charles Petrie.
• Cofely, a GDF SUEZ company is the world’s leading provider of energy, technical and facilities services.The company employs 2,500 people in the UK and Ireland, delivers solutions at over 13,000 customer sites and has an annual turnover of £300 million.
Image: Wilfrid Petrie, Executive Vice President of GDF SUEZ Energy Services in charge of Northern Europe and Chairman of Cofely Ltd, with Liverpool business and civic leaders. On the left: Ian Forster, regional manager NW, Cofely Ltd; Max Steinberg, CEO, Liverpool Vision; Cllr Joe Anderson, leader LCC. To his right: Ian Pollitt, development/surveyor, Peel Holdings; Cllr Frank Prendergast, Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Nick Small, executive member for employment, enterprise and skills; Claire McColgan, director, Culture Liverpool