Past Speakers

Peter Žiga

Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic


1990 – 1995: University of Economics in Bratislava, Faculty of Business Economy, Košice
1991: Course for students from Eastern Europe under the auspices of the Union Bank of Switzerland- St. Gallen, Switzerland
2006 – 2009: Technical University of Košice


2016 – present: Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic
2012 – 2016: Minister of the Environment of the Slovak Republic
2010 – 2012: Member of Parliament, National Council of the Slovak Republic
2006 – 2010: State Secretary, Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic

Jeffrey Liker

University of Michigan, Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering

Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker is Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan and president of Liker Lean Advisors—a network of top-notch practitioners who consult, coach and teach in the Toyota Way. He is author of the international best-seller, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer, McGraw Hill, 2004 (26 languages, over 850,000 copies sold), and has coauthored six other books about Toyota: The Toyota Way Fieldbook, 2005, The Toyota Product Development System, Toyota Talent: Developing exceptional people the Toyota Way, 2007, and Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way, 2008. His three newest books published in 2011 are: The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement, Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity, and The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence through Leadership Development. His newest book is Developing Lean Leaders at all Levels: A Practical Guide. His articles and books have won eleven Shingo Prizes for Research Excellence and The Toyota Way also won the 2005 Institute of Industrial Engineers Book of the Year Award and 2007 Sloan Industry Studies Book of the Year. In 2012 he was inducted into the Association of Manufacturing Excellence Hall of Fame. He is a frequent keynote speaker and consultant. Recent clients include Caterpillar, Applied Materials, Siemens, Dover Industries, Kraft-Oscar Meyer, Alcatel-Lucent, Hertz, Solar Turbine, Art Van Furniture and Henry Ford Health Systems. He has a BS in industrial engineering from Northeastern University and a PhD in sociology from the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Matthias Erb

Head of Holistic User Experience, Volkswagen AG

Dr. Matthias Erb was named Head of Holistic User Experience (HUX) in April 2018. Located in Volkswagen’s headquarters Wolfsburg, Germany, the newly created division is steering the interaction between Technical Development, Design, Product Lines and Sales, in order to ensure the smooth integration of the vehicle into the digital world. The scope of work will gradually extend to the entire model portfolio.

Previously, he served as Chief Engineering Officer for Volkswagen’s North American Region (NAR) since April 2016, and also took over responsibility for the company’s NAR Product Strategy.

Since 2014, in his role as Executive Vice President Dr. Erb has been responsible for the setup of Volkswagen’s North American Engineering & Planning Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The center serves as a core entity for engineering related activities of Volkswagen in the region. The establishment of the center is a cornerstone of Volkswagen’s new strategy for the North American market.

Dr. Erb joined Volkswagen Group in 2003 and has held various management positions at AUDI AG and Audi of America. In 2008, he started leading the office of the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Erb had spent several years as a lecturer for Quality Assurance at the University of Mainz, Germany. He earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Economics at Aachen University of Technology as well his PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

Thomas A. Schmid

Chief Operating Officer, Hyundai Motor Europe

As Chief Operating Officer, Thomas A. Schmid is responsible for setting business direction and overseeing Hyundai’s pan-European sales, marketing and customer service operations. Mr Schmid joined Hyundai Motor Europe in May 2013. Prior to this, he held various senior management roles in the European automotive industry, covering multiple brands and disciplines. He graduated from the University of Vienna as Master of Business Administration, Master of Law and Economics, and Master of Laws, as well as completing further professional and business qualifications in the USA.

Dr. Oliver Grünberg

Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Slovakia

Since January 2019 Dr. Oliver Grünberg is CEO of Volkswagen Slovakia, a.s. During his 25-years at Volkswagen AG, Dr. Grünberg oversaw many strategic positions, such as Managing Director and Director Technical Affairs at Škoda Auto India or head of Brandplanning at Škoda Auto. Before his assignment in Slovakia, he was technical director and deputy general director of Volkswagen Group Russia. Dr. Grünberg holds a doctor’s degree in engineering from University in Braunschweig. In his spare time he enjoys time with his wife and two kids.

Gary Hamel

American management expert, London Business School

Gary Hamel is one of the world’s most influential and iconoclastic business thinkers. He has worked with leading companies across the globe and is a dynamic and sought-after management speaker. Hamel has been on the faculty of the London Business School for more than 30 years and is the director of the Management Innovation eXchange.

Hamel has written 17 articles for the Harvard Business Review and is the most reprinted author in the Review’s history. His landmark books have been translated into more than 25 languages. His most recent bestsellers are The Future of Management and What Matters Now. In these volumes, Hamel presents an impassioned plea for reinventing management and lays out a practical blueprint for building organizations that are “fit for the future.”

Fortune magazine describes Hamel as “the world’s leading expert on business strategy,” and the Financial Times calls him a “management innovator without peer.” Hamel has been ranked by The Wall Street Journal as the world’s most influential business thinker and is a fellow of the Strategic Management Society and of the World Economic Forum.

Hamel’s groundbreaking concepts such as “strategic intent,” “core competence,” “industry revolution,” and “management innovation,” have changed the language and practice of management in organizations around the globe.

Hamel’s work inside of organizations has been equally pioneering.  Highlights include:

  • Building one of the world’s first “idea markets” inside a global energy leader.
  • Using crowdsourcing to help a European high tech company build a game-changing strategy.
  • Orchestrating a comprehensive effort to turn a venerable durable goods manufacturer into one of the world’s most innovative companies.
  • Helping a leading Korean company re-engineer its management practices around the principles of openness, community and meritocracy.
  • Designing and deploying an online platform that allowed the employees of a top fashion house to share and develop ideas for strengthening their company’s core values.
  • Developing innovation tools and platforms that have helped companies around the world de-commoditize mature industries and accelerate growth.
  • Running an online “hackathon” in which more than 1,700 senior executives collaborated to reinvent the HR function.

In his work, Hamel has led transformational efforts in some of the world’s most notable companies and has helped to create billions of dollars in shareholder value.

Hamel is one of the world’s most sought-after management speakers on the topics of strategy, leadership, innovation and change.

Alexander Matušek

President, Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak republic

Ivan Hodáč

Event moderator

Ivan Hodač is a Founder and President of the Aspen Institute Prague. He was Secretary-General of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) from 2001 until October 2013. He is the Chairman of the Board at cabinet DN. The Financial Times listed him among the most influential personalities in Brussels politics. Before joining ACEA, he was Senior Vice-President and Head of the Time Warner Corporate office for Europe. Previously he was Secretary-General of the trade organization IFMA/IMACE, Senior Economist at Didier & Associates, and Assistant Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges. He was born in Prague, where he studied mechanical engineering. He completed his education in economics and political science at the University of Copenhagen and the College of Europe in Bruges (European studies).

Martin Koers

Head of Economic Policy and Climate Protection Department, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)

Dr. Martin Koers studied Economics and Business Administration in Germany and UK (Edinburgh). After working at the Department of Marketing at Muenster University (Germany) he taught as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois (USA) before moving forward to Ford Motor Company in Europe located in Cologne. At Ford he held different management positions before starting his profession at the German Association of the Automotive Industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie – VDA) in Frankfurt and Berlin as Head of Economic Policy and Climate Protection. At the same time he holds a university teaching position at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Sir Jonathan Faull

Chair of European Public Affairs, Brunswick

Sir Jonathan Faull joins Brunswick after a distinguished career at the European Commission working at the highest level on a wide range of policies including competition, justice and home affairs, transport and financial services. As the Commission’s most senior British official his recent roles included Director-General Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, as well as Director-General of the Task Force for strategic issues related to the UK Referendum.

Jonathan became Director for Competition Policy at the Directorate-General for Competition in 1995, Deputy Director-General in charge of State aid in 1999 and Spokesman and Director-General of Press and Communication in 1999. He was Director-General of Justice and Home Affairs (later Justice, Freedom and Security) from 2003 to 2010 and then Director-General in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA) between 2010 and 2015. Latterly he has served as Director-General of the Task Force for Strategic Issues related to the UK Referendum.

He studied law at the University of Sussex and has an MA from the College of Europe in Bruges. He has been a visiting lecturer at Sciences Po, a visiting fellow of the University of Cambridge Centre for European Legal Studies, a visiting professor at the College of Europe since 2009 and Emeritus Professor of Law at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) since 1989.

He is a visiting Professor at King’s College, London and a member of the boards of the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris and the Centre for European Reform in London. Sir Jonathan has also been named by the University of Sussex as Honorary Professor and Fellow of UKTPO within the Business school, as well as Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the University of Edinburgh.

Sir Jonathan was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2017 for services to UK relations with the European Union.

Maroš Šefčovič

Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union

Maroš Šefčovič (born in 1966) is a Slovak career diplomat and since 1 November 2014 Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union. In this capacity, he leads the “Energy Union” Project Team within the Commission which comprises of 14 commissioners.
In 2014 he was elected as the Member of the European Parliament. From 2010 – 2014 he was Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration. In 2009-2010, he was European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth. From 2004 -2009, he was the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the European Union. As diplomat by profession he served between 1992 and 2004 in Zimbabwe and Canada and as Ambassador to Israel.
He graduated from the University of Economy in Bratislava and the Moscow State Institute for Foreign Relations. He holds a degree as Doctor of Law and a PhD of European Law from the Comenius University, Faculty of Law, Bratislava. He also studied at Stanford University, USA.
He has recently published a book on his first mandate as Vice-President entitled “Driving the EU forward – straight talks with Maroš Šefčovič” (John Harper Publishing, London 2014).

Alexander Wortberg

Operations Director., Jaguar Land Rover Slovakia

Alexander Wortberg is appointed Jaguar Land Rover Operations Director of the new Jaguar Land Rover vehicle plant in Nitra/Slovakia, currently under construction.

Previously, he was Director of Production at Qoros Auto, leading the Changshu production plant near Shanghai. Alexander has 20 years of automotive experience with BMW, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Qoros Auto in Germany, the UK and China. Past responsibilities include diverse project lead roles in manufacturing strategy, new vehicle programmes, vehicle and plant launch, as well as leading vehicle manufacturing operations.

Alexander holds a Masters degree of Production Engineering of RWTH Aachen in Germany, and an MBA from INSEAD at Fontainebleau in France. He is married with three daughters and lives in Slovakia.

Karl-Friedrich Wörsdörfer

Vice President Product Development HBS, Continental Teves AG

Study of mechanical engineering and vehicle technologies finished in 1982.

1982 – 1996: Teves, responsible for brakes engineering and ESC development

1996 – 2006: Audi, responsible for Brake System, Driver Assistant Systems and Fuel tank

2006 – current: Continental Teves AG, responsible world wide for development and application of hydraulic brake systems

Stefan Deix

Director, European Council for Automotive R&D - EUCAR

Stefan Deix graduated as physicist at the University of Vienna. Since 2015 he has been Director of EUCAR, the European Council for Automotive R&D, the research association of the major European passenger car and commercial vehicle manufacturers. Stefan Deix was Director for Research & Innovation at CLEPA (European Association of Automotive Suppliers) facilitating the Research and Innovation Working Group activities. Before that he was working at AIT Austrian Institute of Technology in the Department Mobility. He was appointed research coordinator for Austria, research area leader for road safety and elected Chairman of the research coordinators at FEHRL (Forum of European Highway Research Laboratories). He was member of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) WG on Road Safety, iMobility WG on Automated Driving and Member of the EARPA task force safety.

Zdenek Tuma

Partner, KPMG Czech Republic, former guvernor of Czech National Bank

Zdeněk is a partner in KPMG Czech Republic where he leads consulting in financial services. He held various positions in the financial sector in the last 25 years. He was the governor of the Czech National Bank in 2000-2010 as well as a member of the General Council of the ECB. He has been lecturing at Charles University since beginning of the 1990s. Zdenek is a member in scientific and statutory boards at several universities. He is a member of the Czech Economic Society, of which he was the president in 1999-2001.

Stéphane Bonhommeau

Managing director, PSA Groupe plant in Trnava

1st of March 2017 General Director
PSA Groupe Slovakia Production centre in Trnava

2015 Plant Director light commercial vehicules
Plant PSA Groupe in Hordain, France

2014 Assembly Shop General Manager
Plant PSA Groupe in Rennes, France

2011 Industrial General Manager
Plant PSA Groupe in Rennes, France

2007 Industrialization project manager of the 508 car
Plant PSA Groupe in Rennes, France

2004 Production, Quality and Assembly line manager
Plant PSA Groupe in Rennes, France

1994 Head of production unit and group, then Head of technical group and Quality Assurance ; Assembly Shop, Paint Shop, Quality Shop
Plant PSA Groupe in Aulnay-sous-bois, France


2004 Engineer diploma of Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées
2004 MAS in « Organization and management of production systems »

Ralf Sacht

Chairman of the board, Volkswagen Slovakia

Rohit Talwar

Fast Future, director

A global futurist and founder of Fast Future Research. Rohit works with global business to help them understand and create the future, and is an award winning speaker noted for his provocative content. He advises global firms, industries and governments on how to survive, thrive, spot and manage emerging risks and develop innovative growth strategies in the decade ahead. His interests include the evolving role of technology in business and society, emerging markets, the future of education, sustainability and embedding foresight in organisations. Rohit helps clients understand how mega trends, emerging ideas, new business models, and disruptive developments in science and technology could impact individuals, society, business, industries and government. He currently leads studies on transformative drivers of change for the next decade, science and technology developments over the next forty years, impacts of emerging technologies on the legal sector, human enhancement and the Shadow Economy.

Ján Uriga

Senior Manager for Innovations & Strategic Change Advisory, PricewaterhouseCoopers Slovakia

John Uriga received his PhD. at the Institute of Experimental Psychology at Slovak Academy of Sciences where he dealt with research and application of social intelligence and leadership decision-making. From 2003 to 2009, he worked as HR manager in public administration and international corporations. Since 2010, he has been involved in consulting projects in the field of strategic management of change, innovation, leadership and corporate culture. He taught externally at the FSEV and leads the MBA Module of Change Management and Innovation for the Automotive Sector in cooperation with the Vienna Technical University. Since 2018, he is the leader of the Prague Experience Center, which is focused on innovation in the area of modern technologies and business models.

Jay Nagley

R&D Specialist - Automotive Team at the Department for International Trade, UK

Jay has been associated with the car industry since working for Porsche in the late 1980s. Through the 1990s he ran the UK division of a major German consultancy and in 1998 he set up his own consultancy, Spyder Redspy Ltd, providing market analysis, product planning and online services to the car industry. He ran the company until 2014, when he joined the Automotive Sector Team as R&D Specialist.

He now works with UK technology companies to develop their international markets in three key areas: low carbon propulsion, lightweight vehicle structures and connected and autonomous vehicles. He also works with overseas suppliers to increase the amount of R&D they undertake in the UK.

Jonathan Carrier

Vice President of Corporate Development, AeroMobil

Christoph Stürmer

Global Lead Analyst Autofacts, PwC Germany

Christoph Stürmer is the Global Lead Analyst of Autofacts, PwC’s independent competence and research center on the global automotive industry. Christoph has more than 20 years’ experience in the automotive industry, with a background in product management and strategic planning at a leading OEM, and long-ranging experience in industry analysis and market forecasting, as well as manufacturer strategy assessments.

Jong Hun Kim

Director of Development, LG Chem Poland

2018 ~ present: Development Director, LGCWA
2013 ~ 2017: Research Fellow, Center for Advanced Automotive Battery Development
2006 ~ 2012: General Manager, Battery Research and Development

Carlos Navas

Strategy Officer, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking

Andreas Maashoff

Director Industrial Design & Research, Adient

Simon Garbett

Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

Simon Garbett leads Squire Patton Boggs’ UK and European Automotive Group.  Areas of key focus are automotive cross-border issues and disputes, manufacturing, supply chain and product liability issues, including automotive and tech cross-overs. Simon has also represented a significant number of automotive and other clients at successful mediations.  Simon is also a member of Squire’s Global Automotive Industry Group, as well as co-author of the firm’s Global Supply Chain Law Blog. Simon speaks regularly across Europe on legal issues associated with connected and autonomous vehicles.


Vincent Abadie

Senior-Expert of Autonomous Vehicles Project, Groupe PSA

Pavel Kysilka

founder, 6D Academy, former Czech National Bank governor

Pavel is a graduate of the University of Economics. During the years 1986-1990 he worked at the Economic Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.

From 1990 to 1991 he was the chief economic advisor to the Minister for Economic Policy. In the 1990s, he served as vice-governor and executive governor of the Czech National Bank. He was responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Czechoslovak currency and the introduction of the Czech crown. In 1994-1997, he worked as an expert of the International Monetary Fund and participated in the introduction of national currencies in a number of eastern European countries. In the 1990s he was president of the Czech Economic Society. In 2000 he started working for Česká spořitelna as chief economist, in 2004 he was elected a member of the Board of Directors and since January 1, 2011 he has been serving as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors since January 1, 2011. He was named Banker of the Year three times (2011, 2012 and 2013) He deals with the economic, business and social impacts of the digital revolution.

He is the founder and chairman of the board of the 6DAcademy.

Thomas Hipke

Head of the Department of Lightweight Functional Structures, Fraunhofer IWU

Researcher at Fraunhofer Institute (Germany) for Machine Tools and Forming Technology for a long time.

Expert in metal foaming, fibre reinforced plastics, hybrid materials and light weight design.

Dae-Sik Kim

President and CEO, Kia Motors Slovakia

Studied at University of Hanyang, South Korea, and successfully graduated in the field of Machine Design and Production Engineering. Started his career with Kia Motors Corporation in 1985. After several years, continued at the Sohari car production plant as Head of Production Management. From 2005, began to work for Kia Motors Headquarters as Head of Global Production Management. Before he joined Kia Motors Slovakia, he was the Head of Corporate Planning team in Hyundai Motor Group. After his rich professional career in 2017 he got an opportunity to use his experience abroad in the position of the President and CEO of Kia Motors Slovakia.

Dusan Valient

Technology Center Leader in Trenčín

Dušan Valient has worked in the automotive field at Adient for the past 10 years (15 years in the automotive field in total). He is currently leader of the PG Complete Seat department in technology center in Trenčín/Slovakia. He first began his career in 2003 as a Mechanical and Electrical R&D Engineer  responsible for thedesign, industralization and launch support for the global Automotive Tier 1 wire harness supplier.

In 2008, Dušan Valient joined Adient Slovakia (former Johnson Controls International) company to the Complete Seat department, where his role was initially to lead the team dedicated to Seating design, tactical planning, budgeting, testing and launch support in JIT plants for the French and Czech OEM’s. He suceeded and in 2016 he assumed full responsibility for Product Group Complete Seat department in technology center Trenčín/Slovakia with the Seating design resposibility for up to15 OEM’s. He is a cross-functional leader for product development and supporting functions (Prototyping, Testing, Release Coordination, etc) and supervising a multicultural  workforce in EMEA and APAC region.