Willem Jonker, CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
Prof. Willem Jonker (1962) has a broad background in ICT, both in industry as well as in academia. He studied mathematics and computer science at Groningen University, worked at Delft University of Technology, received his PhD from the University of Utrecht, and is a part-time full professor in computer science at Twente University.
Willem Jonker's industrial experience covers telecommunications (KPN), IT (European Computer industry Research Centre, Munich) and consumer electronics (Philips). He held several positions as researcher, international project leader, department head, sector head, and account manager. In 2006 he was appointed Vice President Philips Research. Prof. Dr. Jonker has served European ICT research in various ways amongst others as project leader, reviewer, and advisor.
Chahab Nastar, Chief Research and Innovation Officer
Dr. Chahab Nastar has over 20 years of experience as an academic, an entrepreneur, and a large company executive. After heading up a research team at INRIA, he founded the computer vision software maker LTU technologies and successfully sold it to Jastec Corporation, a listed company based in Tokyo. He then spent 7 years at SAP as Vice President of Advanced Development, before joining EIT Digital in 2014. Chahab graduated from Ecole des Ponts ParisTech. He has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and is a former fellow of the MIT Media Lab. In 2002, he was recognized by Technology Review magazine as one of the world’s top young innovators.
Roberto Prieto, Chief Education Officer
Prof. Prieto is the Chief Education Officer of EIT Digital and a member of the Management Committee of EIT Digital.
Prof. Prieto received the Master and Doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Spain becoming Full Professor in 2016.
He is coauthor of over 120 technical papers in peer-reviewed international conferences and journals and he is coauthor of 2 patents and 3 software brands, which two of them are in commercial operation.
He served as Vice-President for Research at UPM. He was the UPM representative at the technical commission of RedEmprendia (University Network for Entrepreneurship accelerators). He was the Director of the Transfer Technology Office (TTO) at UPM and the President of the National Spanish network of Technology Transfer Offices (RedOTRI-CRUE).
He also served as advisor of the General Secretary of Science and Innovation for collaborative programs with Universities at the Spanish Ministry of Science.
Stan Smits, COO (Chief Operating Officer)
Stan Smits is Dutch and graduated in 1974 with a M.Sc. in physics from Leiden University. Until 1978 he was a research scientist at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam.
From 1978 to 1994 he held various R&D and General Management positions in the domain of data and telecommunications at Digital Equipment Corporation and was based in France for 10 years.
Stan Smits joined Royal Philips Electronics in 1994, and within Philips Healthcare he has performed roles as Chief Software Technology Officer and as CEO of the Healthcare Informatics business unit. Stan Smits retired from Royal Philips Electronics in 2009.
Guillaume Toublanc, Node Director France
Guillaume Toublanc has more than twenty years of expertise in digital innovation, entrepreneurship and digital transformation in both big corporations and startups. After creating several digital startups and helping to set up two startup studios dedicated to fast track innovation at Orange, he held the position of VP Digital Marketing where he led major digital transformation projects of the operator. He regularly seats at the selection committee of several French startups accelerators. He has accompanied, personally, numerous digital startups at various stages of evolution over the last ten years.
Guillaume Toublanc holds an Executive MBA from the Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago. He graduated from Telecom ParisTech and holds a Master degree in Physics from Université Pierre et Marie Curie.
He lives in Paris and has two children. When not working, he enjoys outdoor activities as often as he can with his family and friends.
László Gulyás, Node Director Hungary
László Gulyás, born in 1972, was the regional lead of EIT Digital’s ARISE Europe program in Central and Eastern Europe. His professional history of 20+ years has been divided in about equal parts between higher education, research and ICT business practice. His mission is to bring cutting edge scientific results to the market and vice versa.
After receiving his PhD from Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest, he worked at the same institution, at Harvard University and at the Central European University. He also held management positions at various startup and SME companies. Dr. Gulyás has authored 80+ articles and co-managed a series of successful technology projects with EU and national support.
Patrick Essers, Node Director Netherlands
Patrick Essers leads the EIT Digital Node in the Netherlands.
Patrick Essers has more than 25 years of high tech industry experience in the telecommunications sector and led local and international task forces in large enterprises.
He started his career in 1992 as Instructor/Teacher within the Dutch PTT Telecommunication and after several positions he continued working for the Swedish Ericsson for 17 years. While building his service record, he further sharpened his managerial, lecturing and technical skills. In his last job within Ericsson he worked as Program Director Seedlinqs. As such he was responsible for the development of new business and the implementation of an ecosystem for open innovation within the Netherlands. Next to this Patrick worked and is still working in additional functions as Business Coach in an entrepreneurial network for SMEs and is he the Secretary of the Board at ICT Innovation Program - Intelligent Communication (IIPIC).
At the time Patrick Essers joined EIT Digital Eindhoven, he was the Quartermaster Director of the Dutch Institute World Class Maintenance (DI-WCM). There he was end-responsible for the transition from a grant-driven to a self-supporting organisation. Currently, EIT Digital also investigates the opportunities for sustainability; Patrick Essers will spearhead this drive in the Netherlands.
Patrick Essers has a Master Degree in Electrotechnics from the Technical University of Eindhoven.
He lives in Tilburg, the Netherlands and is married with two children. When not working Patrick likes to practice Tai Chi Chuan, play a round of Golf, play music (Bassoon and Tenor Saxophone) and cook and eat with friends.
Jesus Contreras, Node Director Spain
Dr. Jesus Contreras has experience in innovation related activities within the ICT sector since 1998. He received his PhD from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Artificial Intelligence in 2004 and a MBA in 2006.
His career incudes from starting as research engineer in Software A.G, acting as Director for R&D in Intelligent Software Components (iSOCO), Head of Business Development at Denodo and Chief Operating Officer at Taiger, all companies dealing with edge technologies creating new products or services. During his career, he was also part time teacher at several universities: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and evaluator of funded projects for the European Commission and Spanish government.
Göran Olofsson, Node Director Sweden
Göran Olofsson is the leader of the EIT Digital Node in Sweden.
With more than 16 years´ experience in R&D and Innovation in the telecommunications sector, with several management roles and board member of several EIT Digital partner organisations, Göran Olofsson brings in-depth knowledge of the industry challenges, the national and international ecosystem and the passion for business development.
At the appointment to Node Director in Sweden in August 2015, Göran Olofsson was the CEO and co-founder of Locusense, a spinoff company from SICS Swedish ICT research, with IPR for indoor positioning and asset tracking and also worked as an independent innovation and strategy consultant.
Prior to this Göran held several positions at TeliaSonera, as Director Generic Strategy, R&D and Innovation 2007-2012, where he developed innovation strategies for national and international programs in the areas of IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Future Media, e-Health and Sustainable Urban Life. In this capacity he was also involved in the first stages of planning and setup of EIT ICT Labs, the former brand name of EIT Digital.
In 1997-2007 he was Vice President (and held other management roles) at Telia Research, managing up to 300 R&D experts. He has provided strategy input to several Board of Directors – SICS, Acreo, Industry Council Future Internet, The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and as an expert for EU, SSF and Vinnova (Swedish National funding agency) and as an external reviewer for EIT Digital in the areas of Urban Life and Mobility and Smart Spaces.
Göran lives north of Stockholm and is married with two children. When not working he enjoys the Stockholm archipelago, jazz music, reading, and volunteer work teaching in mathematics and science to students and immigrants, through a non-profit organization.
Morgan Gillis, Node Director UK
Morgan Gillis has a strong track record of delivering strategic and operational leadership to major collaborative ventures in Europe and the USA, building global ecosystems and leading young entrepreneurial enterprises in the mobile and digital arenas.
He served as Executive Vice President and Board Director of Symbian Software, a software platform company which was centrally involved in defining the smartphone category, for six years from start-up through to global leadership; Managing Director of SHL Plc, a market-leading SaaS provider listed on the London stock exchange; CEO of LiMo Foundation, a major joint venture of leading mobile carriers and technology vendors engaged in the development and commercialisation of an open platform for smart devices; and subsequently as CEO of Tizen Inc. before acting as a management consultant to start-ups and scale-ups in Silicon Valley for three years.
Morgan is also recognised as a leader with the capacity to effect industry-level influence via citation as one of the ‘Forty most influential executives within the global mobile field' by telecoms.com and has extensive experience of working with government and academic bodies to shape their participation in the commercialisation of emerging technologies of major importance.
Vanessa Perez, Head of Communications
Vanessa Perez is the Head of Communications of EIT Digital.
Vanessa Perez has over 20 years of integrated communication management in innovative and high-tech environments. Both in communication agencies and in private companies. She began her career in advertising companies as HAVAS and YOUNG & RUBICAM as a strategic planner. In 1999, she joined PUBLICIS GROUPE where she stayed 16 years endorsing different positions.
She first worked as a strategic planner for the WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM in EMEA promoting partners’ brand image. Then she managed a 360° life science integrated communication agency with the ambition to break the silos between pharmaceuticals, technology and research for the sake of patients. In 2015, Vanessa Perez became Vice-President Communications at DASSAULT SYSTEMES a 3D modelling software company to set up a 360° communication department including Corporate communication, PR, events, industry analysts and AR/VR experiential communication supporting brand awareness and lead generation strategy.
Vanessa Perez is EDHEC (1994) business school graduated.
When time remains, Vanessa enjoys making pictures for exhibitions (with a focus on singular vision on everyday life) and writing books.
Clarisse Ndjel-Porchet, Head of HR
Clarisse has more than 15 years of strong HR leadership experience, developing and implementing HR processes and strategy in close connection with business units and executives’ leaders.
She has had regional as well as global responsibilities within industrial business environments, IT, chemical industry and consultancy, dealing with all aspects of HR in large international organisations such as American Express, General Electric, Syngenta, and lastly Deloitte.
Clarisse holds a Master degree in Business Administration and has lived in France, UK, Switzerland and Luxembourg. She is the mother of two children and she likes running.
Fabio Pianesi, Head of External Collaboration
Fabio Pianesi received his degree in Psychology from the University of Rome (magna cum laude), in 1980, and the specialisation in Computer Science from the same university in 1986. After working as clinical neuropsychologist, in 1988 he joined FBK-IRST, where he served as head of the TCC (Cognitive and Communication Technologies) division (2003-2008), head of the joint FBK-University of Trento “Computational Cognition Laboratory” (2008-2011) and manager of the Ambient Assisted Living activities of FBK (2008-2011). He served as chairman of the Board of Directors of CELCT, a spin-off company devoted to the evaluation of language and communication technology (shareholders: FBK and DFKI). Currenty he is vice-Director for Research at Trento RISE and Head of External Collaboration at EIT Digital.
During the years, his research interests have covered topics such as Natural Language Processing, Formal and Computational Linguistics, HIC and Multimodal Interaction. Recently, they focus on ICT for Independent Living; Human Behaviour Analysis and Life Logging; Social Computing.
Fabio Pianesi teaches Cognitive Ergonomics at the University of Trento.
Eric Thelen, Secretary of the Management Committee and Silicon Valley Hub Director
Eric Thelen has been working for EIT Digital since 2013 in various roles. Before being appointed as the Director of the EIT Digital Silicon Valley Hub, he led the Innovation and Education Operations team at the EIT Digital Headquarters in Brussels. He continues to serve in his role as the Secretary of the EIT Digital Management Committee.
Prior to joining EIT Digital, Eric has been an innovation executive at Philips, where he was (a.o.) CTO for the Home Monitoring Business Unit of Philips Healthcare and Sector Head for Balanced Lifestyle Solutions at Philips Research. Earlier in his career, Eric worked as a research scientist on automatic speech recognition and has been one of the founders of a startup initiative on cloud-based speech interface services.
Eric has an MA in electrical engineering from the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule. As a German native whose European home is currently in The Netherlands, Eric has worked for several years on both U.S. coasts.
Location: Silicon Valley