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Gaia-X CEO Transition

Brussels, 29 September 2023 – Gaia-X European Association for Data and Cloud AISBL is pleased to announce the appointment of Ulrich Ahle as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Board of Directors of Gaia-X Association has appointed Ulrich Ahle as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gaia-X European Association for Data and Cloud AISBL as of 1 November 2023. He succeeds Francesco Bonfiglio, who had been leading the non-profit association for almost three years.

Ulrich Ahle brings more than 30 years of experience in the IT & Digital industry. As the Chief Executive Officer of the FIWARE Foundation since 2017, Ahle has played a pivotal role in advancing open source solutions for smart cities, industry, energy, etc. Ulrich Ahle was previously Vice President and leader of the Manufacturing and Industrie 4.0 System Integration business at Atos in Germany. Ahle is also founder and member of the Board of the International Data Spaces Association in Germany and served 16 years on the Board of the prostep IVIP organisation.

Catherine Jestin, Executive Vice President Digital and Information Management at Airbus and Chairwoman of the Gaia-X Association, said: “Francesco was a great CEO for Gaia-X, and we are grateful for his leadership and energy during the last three years. I am pleased that we have found an excellent successor in Ulrich Ahle, whose remarkable experience will make a significant contribution to our organisation as it embarks on the next level in its mission. Gaia-X aims to facilitate European and International adoption of an open, transparent and secure federated digital ecosystem, in which data and services are governed by common rules and can be built, collected and shared freely and securely. At the present time, almost all European regulations for data sharing have been adopted and promoting the proper set of compliance organisations and tools is critical for the industrial success of the data economy. Ulrich Ahle has been actively participating to internationally build such a framework in the domain of key open standards to enable smart solutions and will drive our ambition to this next step.”

Ulrich Ahle, Gaia-X Chief Executive Officer, said: “Based on the growing power of artificial intelligence and digital business models, data is becoming an even more strategic asset for sustainability and competitive advantage in several business domains. In addition, there is an increasing demand for a global and inter-organisational collaboration based on shared data. Based on European values, Gaia-X has designed a high-performance, competitive, secure, and trustworthy federated data infrastructure. I will contribute my experience in transferring innovative solutions into market adoption and build a sustainable global ecosystem around the Gaia-X technology together with the whole team. An even stronger harmonization of the public funding at EU and member state level will further push the market adoption of Gaia-X based solutions. This will be based on a clear vision and strategy of the deliverables provided by the Gaia-X ecosystem creating value for its members.”

Francesco Bonfiglio, the Former CEO of the Gaia-X Association, said: “I had the honour to start and grow Gaia-X, bringing my vision into an endeavour that I consider unique and paramount for Europe. Walking the talk of my five year plan, at the end of 2023 finally Gaia-X will become tangible, through the deployment in the market of the compliance services, and the first public catalogue. Having developed this foundation, thanks to the great effort of my team and all members, I now consider my work done. Grateful to all and proud of what we built, I wish the best of success to my friend Ulrich and look forward to seeing the expansion and scale up of Gaia-X.”