In 2018, an international high-level jury made the final decision about the CTO of the Year 2018 awardee, based on the nominations made on this website.
Pekka Koponen, Secretary of the Jury, Founder and Chairman of Spinverse
CEO of FASTEMS Oy Ab; President of Orgalime
Tomas Hedenborg graduated as M.Sc from the Helsinki University of Technology (nowadays Aalto University) in 1985, specializing in Automotive Technology and Combustion Engines. He started his professional career in the automotive industry in R&D management, based in Germany, working for automotive system suppliers Valeo and later Faurecia. Gradually moving in to general management positions, led to the opportunity to become CEO of German-based HBPO, a growth-company specialized in front end modules for cars. The company grew rapidly from a 70 MEUR company in 2000 to a close to 500 MEUR company in 2005 when Tomas left the company.
Moving back to Finland in 2005 to become CEO of Finn-Power, gave Tomas the opportunity to enter the machine tool industry and develop the company to a leading player in its field and facilitating the merger with Italian Prima Industrie to create the #3 player worldwide. After assisting with the integration of the new group, Tomas then moved to Fastems, the factory automation specialist, in 2011. Driving the renewal of the company strategy as Executive Chairman, then led to Tomas stepping into an operational role as Group CEO beginning of 2013. Implementation of an ambitious growth strategy is his main agenda.
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Executive Vice President for Business Development, Grundfos
Ernst Lutz studied Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg VA, USA, where he received his PhD. In addition he holds a master´s degree in business management. He has been working in the metals and mining industry for 16 years (alusuisse, Alcan, RioTinto), during which he has held various technology management positions globally. In 2011 he relocated from Shanghai to Winterthur to become corporate Chief Technology Officer of Sulzer. Dr. Lutz has been the CEO of EIT Raw Materials, while currently he is serving as an Executive Vice President for Business Development at Grundfos.
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Vice President Research & Development at Air Liquide
He sets the strategic direction for the Group’s R&D and manages a global network of R&D centers in Asia, North America and Europe. More than 1000 researchers work on the development of innovative technologies for industry (energy, metallurgy, food-processing, chemistry, automotive, pharmaceutical, etc.) and health (hospitals and home-care). Olivier began his career in 1999 at Air Liquide’s R&D in Japan, in Electronics. He continued in this field in Europe as Advanced Products & Services Manager. In 2005 he co-founded ALOHA, a high value added product line targeting the Electronics global market players. After assuming the position of Strategic Partnerships Manager with Electronic’s Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in the US, he was appointed US General Manager of ALOHA. In 2011, Olivier joined Air Liquide Large Industries US as Director of Business Development and was then named Vice President of Operations Control for Air Liquide’s entities in the Americas Zone before he returned to the R&D as Group Vice-President.
Prof. Eyal Shimoni, Ph.D., serves as the Chief Technology Officer of Strauss Group since 2010.
Prof. Shimoni is in charge of the Technological strategy for the group, as well identifying, evaluating and developing innovative technologies with Alpha-Strauss, the Food Tech Community. He is also a Board Member of the newly established FoodTech incubator in Israel, by Strauss. Over the years, he consulted to numerous companies and led various tech transfer projects. He was a Research Professor in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering of the Technion from 2000 to 2013, performing many studies and projects with industrial partners, as well as basic research, mostly in food biophysics and food nano science. He serves as a Member of Advisory Board at GreenSoil Investments. He serves as a Member of Scientific and Industrial Advisory Board at Greensoil II Investment Fund L.P. He is one of Israel’s top food engineering and technology experts, with vast academic and industrial experience. He is a World Renown Researcher in food science and technology, with global network in these fields. He published over 70 peer reviewed scientific papers, book chapters and patents. He holds a D. Sc in Food Engineering & Biotech (1994-1998), B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Technion and a Post Doc degree from the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Sebastien Equis, Ph.D. is a Co-Founder of Nanolive SA and serves as its Head of Product Development. Mr. Equis spent few years in companies as engineer. He worked in the field of laser machining of hard material at EMPA, in Thun. In 2013, he decided to Co-found Nanolive. His task is to make a reliable and user-friendly product with the highest quality standards. He got a PhD in Photonics in 2009 from EPFL and worked as a Post-Doc, in the field of interferometry, with a focus on the processing of the interferometric signals. He holds a Master in optics from Sup’Optique, in F-91 Orsay.
Pekka Koponen, Secretary of the Jury
Founder, Chairman of Spinverse Ltd.
At Spinverse, Pekka has created a platform for his passion for bringing new technologies to market, driving the growth of new business and building partnerships. Founded in 2004, Spinverse is the Nordic leader in innovation consulting, specialised in driving open innovation ecosystems, arranging funding and commercialising emerging technologies. Pekka has strong international experience in bringing new technologies to markets. He is especially known for his work in commercialising emerging technologies as a behind-the-scenes deal-maker for the most respected organisations in the world. Before founding Spinverse, Pekka had exciting 14 years at Nokia during its most exciting growth. He joined Nokia as a smart card expert for the company’s first GSM phone and wrote software that shipped in 500 million pockets. His later achievements included cellular network market entries in a number of emerging countries, facilitating company’s ecosystem strategy and developing corporate venturing operations. His extensive international career includes expatriate assignments in China, Singapore, UK and Czech Republic.
Under Pekka’s leadership, Spinverse has delivered successfully over 400 assignments, coordinated over €1 billion of public funds and developed world’s largest R&D investors’ innovation excellence. Spinverse has had a vital part in forming innovation networks of over 12,000 people from over 60 countries by organising high-tech events. Pekka holds an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Oulu .
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