Skip links
Herobanner White version

Association

Home » Who we are » Association

Who are we?

The Gaia-X European Association for Data and Cloud AISBL represents the core of the organisational structure. It is an international non-profit association under Belgian law (French: association internationale sans but lucratif, shortened to AISBL). It was founded to develop the technical framework and operate the Gaia-X Federation services.

Officially, the Association was founded by 22 companies and organisations in January 2021. Until today, over 300 members have joined and more are welcome. Its members are committed to upholding the values of data protection, transparency, openness, security, and respect for data rights. They are either companies with a provider or user background of data infrastructures, IT-start-ups, research institutions or business associations.

The Association has no business interest of its own. It will develop federation cloud services within the existing cloud infrastructures. To achieve this and to ensure an open and transparent character the Association facilitates the development of an open software infrastructure.

The Gaia-X European Association for Data and Cloud AISBL represents the core of the organisational structure. It is an international non-profit association under Belgian law (French: association internationale sans but lucratif, shortened to AISBL). It was founded to develop the technical framework and operate the Gaia-X Federation services.

Officially, the Association was founded by 22 companies and organisations in January 2021. Until today, over 340 members have joined and more are welcome. Its members are committed to upholding the values of data protection, transparency, openness, security, and respect for data rights. They are either companies with a provider or user background of data infrastructures, IT-start-ups, research institutions or business associations.

The Association has no business interest of its own. It will develop federation cloud services within the existing cloud infrastructures. To achieve this and to ensure an open and transparent character the Association facilitates the development of an open software infrastructure.

Organisational structure

The Gaia-X Association’s General Assembly is composed of all of its members. The General Assembly has complete authority to carry out the objectives of the Gaia-X Association.

The Board of Directors decides on important matters regarding the Gaia-X Association. It is headed by a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson.

The Management Board manages the daily activities of the Gaia-X Association. The Management Board is composed of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), the Chief Technical Officer (CTO), the Chief Innovation Officer (CINO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and the Digital Communications Director.

Who is who (see profiles)

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Ulrich is a reputed executive in the IT sector, formerly Vice President and leader of the Manufacturing and Industrie 4.0 System Integration business at Atos in Germany. He is also the 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 organization until April 2018. After an apprenticeship as a toolmaker at Hella KG, he studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Paderborn. In his career, Ahle held several positions as a development engineer, Director of PLM services, sales director and Vice President. He has been part of Nixdorf a Computer AG, Siemens and Atos. Since January 2017 Ulrich Ahle has been Chief Executive Officer of the FIWARE Foundation headquartered in Berlin, Germany

PA to the CEO and CTO

Kateryna Rybalchenko is the new PA to the CEO and CTO of Gaia-X . She has a rich experience in various fields, including Horeca and personal assistance.

She holds a Master Degree in Marketing in Luxury Tourism from Les Roches  International School of Hotel Management in Marbella

For 5 years she worked in international and multicultural contexts in the field of Horeca, providing a high level of customer service, staff management, quality control and organisation of various events.

For 1.5 years she worked as a personal assistant to the Commercial Director of a big manufacturing company, providing daily support in finding solutions in accordance with standards and protocols. Her role was to work directly on strategic planning, managing action plans and ensuring operational coordination.

Working with selected officials (managing agendas, drafting minutes, official letters or messages) with local or regional organisations and associations allowed her to develop, with the opportunity to play a key role in identifying, analysing and evaluating organisational needs. She speaks English, French, Ukrainian and Russian.

Alberto Palomo

Chief Strategy Officer

Originally from Madrid, he obtained a PhD in Mathematical Physics, prior to working at an R+D lab in Canada developing numerical simulations for artificial neural networks. Alberto then spent the following 5 years coordinating the technical development of Data Science applications for a large electric utility company in the USA.

In 2021, he was appointed Chief Data Officer for the Government of Spain, a novel technopolitical role aimed at prescribing data innovation policy, more so than the management of datasets. Under his lead, the Spanish National Data Office closely followed the innovative developments around European cloud and data, and with that assembled an architectural and governance model for the deployment of data spaces in Spain. Nationally, they also coordinated several WGs across Spanish ministries, federal agencies and industrial stakeholders, as well as promoted a series of normalisation standards for data management and governance.

Victor de Vries

Junior Community Manager

Victor is Junior Community Manager at Gaia-X. Driving our community building activities; he leads the coordination of Gaia-X ecosystems and supports the Gaia-X Data Spaces Business Committee. He also supports the implementation of the Gaia-X Endorsement Programme.

Prior to Gaia-X, Victor worked for an international network of public social services in policy, membership, and project management. He also worked at a European Commission funding programme supporting start-ups and SMEs to bring deep tech innovations to the market. He holds a Masters degree in European Studies. He speaks English, Dutch, French, and is learning Spanish.

Alessandra Perna

Senior Market Adoption Manager

Alessandra Perna is Senior Market Adoption Manager at Gaia-X. She has joined Gaia-X since its beginning, heading the coordination of Gaia-X communities, including Gaia-X Hubs and industry ecosystems. She leads Gaia-X Endorsement Program, supporting projects and business initiatives to advance Gaia-X adoption in the market. She also oversees the Gaia-X Data Spaces Business Committee and manages the operations of the Data Spaces Business Alliance.

Alessandra previously worked on program management in International Associations of different sectors. She holds a degree cum laude in Philosophy, a master’s degree cum laude in Neuroethics and a Master’s in European Project Management. She speaks English, Italian and French and has a beginner’s level of Hungarian.

Julien Vanwambeke

Functional Architect

Julien is a functional architect within Gaia-X CTO Team helping the Working Groups to go through their deliverables and also working on Gaia-X technical publications.
Previously, and after a Master’s Degree of Science at Ecole Centrale in Lille, France, he was mainly involved in retail companies as an enterprise architect or a programme manager on subjects such as last mile deliveries, marketing, customer relationships, or sales.
In his spare time, he likes running, playing board games and hiking.
He speaks French and English and has intermediate knowledge of Spanish and German.

Pierre Gronlier

Chief Innovation Officer (CINO)

interim Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Pierre is the CINO and interim CTO of Gaia-X. He has been working for the last 12 years in the IT industry with a particular interest on operationalising and scaling systems in the field of real-time communication and cloud services.

With an academic background in real-time embedded systems and applied mathematics in signal processing and machine learning, he started as a research engineer in video compression before joining Skype and Microsoft.

He then joined OVHcloud as a cloud solution architect, advising and helping key accounts with their IT resources architecture and consumption. He participated in the development of the first Gaia-X prototypes.

Giuditta Del Buono

Technical Product Manager

Giuditta is the Technical Product Manager of Gaia-X. She supports the definition of Gaia-X Functional Specification by the members of the Association, in the context of the overall Gaia-X release strategy.

Previously, she was in charge of the management of the Gaia-X Committees and Working Groups.

She contributed to Gaia-X from the very beginning, by participating in Gaia-X Working Groups for the Italian IaaS provider Netalia, where she was also responsible for analysing regulatory rules, guidelines, and industry standards.
She holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and has more than ten years of experience in the innovation & technology transfer sector, where she carried out research activities and contributed to the implementation of scouting and acceleration programs addressed to high-tech startups.

Ewann Gavard

Technical Leader

Ewann is one of the developers in the Gaia-x CTO Team. He helps implement the specifications created by the Working Groups to ensure their viability and propose new specifications or changes through Gaia-X Lab.

He’s been working as a professional software developer since 2013, mainly in the North of France before joining Gaia-X beginning of 2023. He worked in big retail companies as well as in startups and emerging companies. He worked mainly as a full-stack developer, but also as the technical leader and backend lead developer. He also loves being able to follow the software lifecycle, from business needs to production deployment and maintenance.

Yassir Sellami

Back-end Software Developer

Yassir works in cooperation with the CTO Office as a Software Developer.
His goal is to bring my technical expertise as a software developer in all aspects of a software engineering lifecycle. Yassir has been working lately in the e-commerce and retail industry and is very excited to work on an ambitious and meaningful project Gaia-X. It’s essential for him to constantly learn and broaden perspectives concerning computer science to always have a healthy challenge at hand.

Yassir speaks English, French and Arabic and has a beginner level of Japanese.

Arthur Sore

Software Developer

Arthur Sore serves as a Software Developer within the CTO team.

He is a professional developer since 2014. His previous roles ranged from embedded development in the aerospace industry, to full-stack web development. He also has an experience in web3 technologies.

Strongly committed to principles such as privacy, sovereignty, and decentralization, he is enthusiastic about contributing to Gaia-X, which he finds to be an exciting and meaningful initiative.

Erwan Favry

Infrastructure Architect

Born with an ms-dos computer in his hands, Erwan has been passionate about computers all his life. Which is why he decided to dedicate his work to them. 

Vincent Kelleher

Software Engineer

Vincent recently joined the CTO Team as a Software Engineer at the end of 2023.

Bringing over a decade of diverse experience in software engineering across various sectors, including public organizations, power-grid management, entertainment, and retail, Vincent thrives on embracing new challenges. His passion extends beyond the professional realm, as he actively engages in side projects at home.

Vincent is a firm believer in the strength of polyglot development to achieve the highest performance and quality standards using state-of-the-art solutions. His commitment to innovation is reflected in his advocacy for interoperability and decentralization.

As a dual citizen of France and Ireland, Vincent is fluent in both French and English, providing him with a multicultural perspective.

Roland Fadrany

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Roland is the COO of Gaia-X from May 2022 onwards. He establishes effective policies, processes and organization that promote the Gaia-X vision and mission.

With over 20 years of international management and consulting experience in the IT industry, he brings strong leadership and digitalisation knowledge to the team. He has led a global service line, successfully delivered complex, critical programs and managed multinational development-, delivery- and partner organisations at companies like EDS, HP, A1 Telekom Austria, Microsoft and Detecon.

Roland oversaw comprehensive innovation and transformation initiatives in various industries in Europe and the USA. He holds a masters degree in “Engineering Management” from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. He speaks English and German and lives in Vienna.

Irene Cicmen

VP Compliance

Irene has been a compliance expert for the past 12 years, with a strong legal background. She worked in Finance, Insurance, Distribution, Industry, and Luxury industry. She supported a wide range of companies such as MetLife,  Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Volkswagen.

She managed different kinds of projects implying the analysis of the GDPR, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering regulations.

She joined Gaia-X on 11 December 2023.

Przemek Halub

Program Manager

Przemek is the Program Manager of Gaia-X. He has 15+ years of experience in project management and has led multidisciplinary teams across service delivery, presales, and software development areas.  His main duties are:

Definition; planning; monitoring and control of program; program requirements; milestones; risk planning and documentation; program reporting; coordination and support of Gaia-X Hubs in relation to their project activities.

Prior to this role Przemek has spent 5 years at Atos and was assigned to the Siemens Account.  He managed large global IT presales programs in the areas of  digital transformation, digital workplace, application management and could. Previously Przemek led projects in R&D  (technology transfer area) and the banking industry (management and implementation of new processes for stock exchanges in Singapore and Asia-Pacific region). He is certified in Agile Project Management (Agile PM) and is a project management graduate and a scholarship holder from the University of Stanford.

Petra Makovec

Operations Manager

Petra is the Operations Manager of the Gaia-X COO office. She has 20 year’s experience in Organisational Development, Portfolio Management and Program Management. Since 2009 she is running her own company delivering various Transformation Projects for clients in different Industries.

The last three years she was managing contractors on pharmaceutical and chemical construction Projects in Germany. She was responsible to ensure the quality and in time production of the deliverables by setting up clear working procedures, supporting the team in achieving the milestones, assuring good communication and relationship within a multi-company environment. She is known for her solution-driven, results-oriented and agile work-methods. She speaks German and English.

Daniela Mockler

Senior Members’ Manager

Daniela is Senior Members Manager at Gaia-X. As such, she has an open ear for all membership related questions and is supporting the members with their engagement in Gaia-X.

She originally comes from a research background, holds a doctorate in physics and has been involved in various experiments in astroparticle physics, which is why she feels at home in international collaborations. Directly prior to Gaia-X, Daniela worked as Scientific Advisor at the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) in the field of research data management, where she focused on connecting research and industry and worked on enabling data exchange between these two fields based on common principles.

Marga Martín Sánchez

Program Manager

Marga is a Program Manager of the Gaia-X Association. She is responsible for the overall management of interdependent programmes and supports the COO organization. Currently, she manages and drives the DSSC- Data Spaces Support Center on behalf of Gaia-X. With over 15 years of international innovation and business management experience in the ICT and security sectors, she brings her knowledge to the Gaia-X team.

She is also an independent expert since 2013 for the European Commission in various Directorates and since 2020 she became an external advisor for the international governmental network EUREKA. She has also participated as a business mentor in large EU initiatives to support organizations and SMEs to scale-up innovative solutions and defining routes to market.

Frederik Tengg

Release Manager

Frederik is an impact-driven entrepreneur and manager from Austria. He wants to make a difference, develop and change things for the better. He has 15+ years of experience in supply chain and process optimization. He founded a successful start-up for SaaS solutions supporting construction processes. Frederik’s holistic approach to data-driven business models, business processes and business development distinguishes him together with his cross-industry background and network.

He holds a master’s in business administration and gained international experience in France, China, the US and throughout his career in more than 10 European countries. Frederik lives together with his wife and their 3 daughters in the suburbs of the beautiful city of Vienna/Austria.
As the Release Manager, he is responsible for the operationalization of the Gaia-X “products” from a process, business and organizational point of view.

Alberto Curatolo

Chief Financial Officer

Alberto leads the Financial, Legal and HR departments for Gaia-X.

He holds a Master’s Degree in International and Diplomatic Sciences from Bologna University and a Master’s in European Law and Economics from Sorbonne University. He has been working as a Project Manager in the social economy sector, also responsible for corporate, legal and financial matters. During his years as a Legal Officer and Public Procurement Correspondent at the European Commission, he acquired an extensive experience in all legal and financial aspects of EC-funded projects and public procurements.

As Financial Director at the European Organisation for Security (EOS), he led the company’s financial department, the EU Project Management Team and the HR department. During his career, he has also supported the creation of several AISBLs in Brussels. He speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Iker Sanz

Members Relations  Officer

Iker is the Members Relations Officer in the Financial Department of Gaia-X. He holds professional experience as a sales manager in the Banking sector, apart from working in different Investments Funds and in International Associations. Throughout the years, Iker’s professional day-to-day has been entirely related to what he is most passionate about, people and finance.

Outside of Gaia-X, he likes doing sports, dancing and cooking. He speaks Spanish, Basque, and English. He also has intermediate knowledge of French and Portuguese.

Amadou Souare

Finance and Administration Officer

Amadou serves as the Finance and Administrative Officer at Gaia-X, where he oversees daily financial operations and handles administrative responsibilities for the association.
With a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, He manages financial tasks such as budgeting, financial reporting, expense management, and coordination with external stakeholders including auditors and tax authorities.
Outside of work, Amadou enjoys traveling and his most memorable trip was his visit to Canada in the summer of 2022. Travelling offers him the opportunity to explore different cultures, broaden his horizons, and gain new perspectives.

Cosmina Gantner

Digital Communications Director

Cosmina is the Digital Comms Director of Gaia-X. She supports the 360 communications efforts of Gaia-X, mainly responsible for digital communications, website management and social media.

Previously, Cosmina managed the communications strategy and media relations for a Brussels based organisation in the Social Policy field. Prior to that, she was responsible for events communication in the field of Research and Innovation in the European Parliament, including the European Innovation Summit and the EU Top 50 Startups Competition.

Cosmina holds a MA in Visual Communication & Advertising and a BA in Communications and Public Relations awarded by the West University of Timisoara, Romania. She speaks English and Romanian and has an intermediate understanding of French.

Anna Busdraghi

External Dissemination and Public Affairs Manager

I support Gaia-X’s advocacy and communication activities with a focus on the Data Spaces Support Centre.

With a background in public affairs and communication, I have over four years of experience with the European Commission (TRADE and DIGIT), and 2 in the private sector, coordinating IT and trade promotion projects.

I speak English, Italian, and Chinese and a bit of French.

Jodie Emery

Internal Communications Officer

Jodie works within our internal communications team. Previously she has worked for various international organizations in the UK and Australia, in both internal and external communications roles. Most recently, she worked for an international law firm in London as an internal communications executive, working closely with the board of directors to craft strategic communications. Jodie has a BA in English from Royal Holloway, University of London.

In her spare time, Jodie enjoys reading, going to galleries, and travelling.

She speaks English and a little Dutch.

Robert Goia

Public Affairs Manager

Robert is the External Stakeholder Engagement Officer of Gaia-X. He has advocacy experience in the civil society, and he particularly specialised in EU political rights advocacy and citizenship education. Throughout the years he has been extensively involved in civil society advocacy and has acquired important skills related to project management. By organising conferences and engaging mobile European citizens in political rights discussions, he has improved both his creative and advocacy writing and speaking skills.

Outside work, he enjoys playing music, both in terms of producing and listening, and he has decent bass guitar skills as well as stage experience. Hiking is also an activity that he is particularly interested in. He speaks English and Romanian and a beginner’s level of Hungarian and French.

Alexandra Simionca

Events and Communications Manager

Alexandra is the Events and Communications Manager of Gaia-X. Prior to joining Gaia-X, Alexandra worked as a Communications Coordinator for a Brussels-based association promoting the European biotechnology industry. She was responsible for all internal and external communications and was the driving force behind all the events. Prior to that, she was responsible for the organisation of several conferences in the European Parliament, like the European Innovation Summit and the AI & Big Data for Innovation Summit.

In her spare time, Alexandra enjoys hiking, cycling and growing house plants. She speaks English, French and Romanian.

Thomas Stevens

Digital Media Manager

Thomas is the Digital Media Manager of Gaia-X. Prior to joining Gaia-X, Thomas worked as a Communications officer for an NGO that aims to advance the exchange of knowledge in European public social services and has experience as a project manager for an NGO involved in European youth work. His interest in communications started when he was enrolled in an internship for a research centre promoting European defence cooperation and has grown ever since.

Thomas holds an MA in International Politics from Ghent University, Belgium, and a BA in Social Cultural Work from the University of Leuven, Belgium. Outside Gaia-X, Thomas enjoys going for a run in Ghent or, weather permitting, soaring the skies of the Belgian Ardennes with his paraglider. He speaks English and Dutch (Flemish), while he has an intermediate knowledge of French.

Krzysztof Lechowski

Senior Digital Media Officer

Krzysztof works in Gaia-X’s communication team as a content writer and graphic designer. Prior to joining Gaia-X, Krzysztof worked at the Chancellery of the Senate in Poland and most recently volunteered at the Italian Red Cross during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Krzysztof is a graduate of the University of Southern Denmark, Charles University in Prague and the University of Bialystok. Outside of Gaia-X, Krzysztof likes to relax by cooking, reading and playing volleyball.

He speaks English, and Polish and he has intermediate knowledge of French and Italian.

Download PDF

Committees & Working Groups

Data & Services Business Committee (DSBC)

The Data & Services Business Committee is driven by a business ecosystem and strives to proactively support the creation of Data Spaces by third parties across Europe and beyond.

The DSBC collects and prioritises economic, functional, operational and legal requirements that facilitate seamless collaboration and interconnection between Data Spaces, Lighthouse Projects and Hubs.

The DSBC supports the link with Lighthouse Projects, Hubs and Ecosystems.

Member Lead and Management Lead: Thomas Hahn (Siemens AG), Alberto Palomo (Gaia-X, CSO)

Policy Rules Committee (PRC)

The Policy Rules Committee (PRC) aims to translate the guiding principles of the Gaia-X initiative, e.g., transparency, data protection, cyber security, portability, and openness, into High-Level Objectives to safeguard the added value of the Gaia-X ecosystem.

Furthermore, the PRC has the role to monitor, integrate and define the relationship with EU regulations and external standards.

Specifically, the Committee guides and delivers the Gaia-X Trust Framework, prepared by the WG Compliance, and the Gaia-X Policy Rules and Labelling Document (PRLD), resulting from the merger of the Policy Rules Document and the Gaia-X Labelling Criteria, prepared by the Policy Rules Document and Labels & Qualification WGs.

Member Lead and Management Lead: Alban Schmutz (Cispe), Roland Fadrany (Gaia-X, COO)

Technical Committee (TC)

The Technical Committee defines and implements the technological vision of Gaia-X. It plans, develops, and is accountable for the Gaia-X technology roadmap and its contributors. It further communicates the Gaia-X technological vision and its related objectives to establish trust and credibility with members and third parties.

The inputs to define the technology roadmap are represented by the high-level objectives of Gaia-X and by the requirements collected from other Committees and members.

The current main deliverables of the TC are the Gaia-X Architecture Document, drafted by the WG Architecture, the Gaia-X technical specifications and related reference implementation that the WG Federation Services is responsible for, and the set of common service characteristics schemas and Service Taxonomy, which are delivered by the WG Service Characteristics.

Member Lead and Management Lead: Klaus Ottradovetz (Eviden/ATOS), Pierre Gronlier (Gaia-X, CTO)

Working Groups

The group drafts the Gaia-X Architecture Document, where the founding concepts to establish the Gaia-X Ecosystem are described.

The Architecture Document focuses on conceptual modelling and key considerations of an operating model, integrating the Providers, Consumers and Services needed for their interaction, and is agnostic regarding technology and vendor.

The document reflects the evolution of technical and business functional requirements and provides a reference for the Gaia-X Federation Services

The sub-WG under the Architecture WG is the sub-WG Service Composition owning the Service Composition model inside the Architecture Document.


Lead and Vice-Lead:
Klaus Ottradovetz (ATOS), Arnaud Braud (Orange)

For more information & inquiries, please fill-out the form at the end of the section.

The group specifies the Schema for the Self-Descriptions of Providers, their Service Offerings, and the Resources they are composed of.The Self-Description schema comprises of a taxonomy of specific classes of Service Offerings and Resources, as well as the attributes to describe instances of these classes. This information is released as part of the Trust Framework , led by the WG Compliance.

Furthermore, the WG Service Characteristics works on the Self-Description Information Model, which will be released together with the Sub-WG ICAM specifications. It also contributes to the Architecture Document.

 

Lead and Vice-Lead: Christoph Lange-Bever (Fraunhofer), Anja Strunk (Cloud&Heat)

For more information & inquiries, please fill-out the form at the end of the section.

Download PDF