Full speaker biographies can be found below, please check back regularly for updates.
Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services
Alexander De Croo is Open-Vld Deputy Prime Minister in the Belgian Federal Cabinet. He is also Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services. Before taking the office of deputy prime Minister, Alexander De Croo was Senator and party chairman of Open Vld, the Flemish liberal-democrats.
Graduated in Business Engineering (Solvay Business School, Brussels), Alexander De Croo completed an MBA at the Kellog School of Management (University of Chicago - United States), in 2004. Between 1999 and 2006, he was employed as a strategy consultant at The The Boston Consulting Group, one of the leading management consulting firms worldwide. In 2006, he founded his own company: Darts-IP, a consulting company in the field of intellectual property rights, which today operates throughout the world.
In 2009 he went into politics. He participated in the European elections and in December 2009 he was elected chairman of the Open Vld party. In 2012 he became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Pensions in the Federal Government. In 2013 he became deputy chairman of the Global Agenda Council on Ageing within the World Economic Forum. Since tha year, he is also a member of the Global Agenda Council on Europe of the World Economic Forum.
Director, Digital Economy & Coordination , DG CONNECT
Gerard de Graaf is Director for the Digital Economy and Coordination in Directorate-General "Communications Networks, Content & Technology" (DG CONNECT). In this capacity, he is responsible for a number of policies and instruments which are key to the development of the digital economy in Europe, including the implementation of the Digital Single Market Strategy and the coordination of the EU's R&D&I programme (Horizon 2020) in the area of ICT. His directorate is inter alia responsible for e-commerce and copyright reform, standardisation, innovation policies, access to finance, ICT reforms as part of the European Semester, competition aspects and economic analysis of the Digital Economy.
Previously, Gerard de Graaf was director for electronic communications, networks and services and director for audiovisual, cyber security and international aspects. Before joining DG CONNECT, Gerard de Graaf was Head of Unit for Innovation Policy in DG Research and Innovation. Between 2005 and 2010, he was Head of Unit in the European Commission’s Secretariat-General, responsible for policy coordination. From 2001 until 2005, Gerard de Graaf was Head of the Policy Unit in DG Internal Market. From 1997 until 2001, he was trade counsellor at the Commission’s Delegation to the United States in Washington DC with a particular focus on financial services, procurement, e-commerce, data protection and technology issues.
He joined the European Commission in 1991, and worked inter alia on procurement policies and financial services. He started his career in the private sector and ran his own company on industrial market research.
Gerard de Graaf studied Social Geography and Regional Planning (cum laude) at the Free University in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and European Studies (magna cum laude) at the Catholic University in Leuven (Belgium).
He was born in 1962 in Delft in the Netherlands. He is married with Marina Calluy. They have two children (Emma and Matthias).
Vice President Business Development, UPS Europe
Craig Arnold, a 27-year UPS veteran, has been Vice President of Business Development at UPS Europe since July 2015, in charge of Sales and Business Development for the Middle
Market customer segment. UPS Europe is UPS’s largest non-U.S. operation.
Craig joined UPS as an operations supervisor in 1988 after having worked for UPS as a part-time loader during College. Three years later he moved to Australia where he became one of UPS’s first dedicated import services sales people. Following a stay in Malaysia as Country Sales Manager, he moved to Atlanta, GA-US, where he worked at the corporate head office of UPS in the International Business Development Group.
In January 2007 he transferred to California Bay Area and assumed the position of UPS North California Director of Sales. Craig also served as Advisory Board Chair for the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Center in San Francisco and Vice Chair for the Salvation Army’s Golden Gate Division Advisory Board.
In late 2010 Craig moved to Brussels, Belgium as Director of Sales Operations for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In January 2013 Craig took on the assignment VP Enterprise Account Sales – Retail and High Tech.
Craig is also passionate about humanitarian relief efforts and served for 33 days with the Salvation Army in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, as well as in Tacloban, PH in 2013 after a typhoon. In both deployments Craig connected UPS and the Salvation Army to meet the needs of those impacted by disaster. Craig’s engagement involved attending UN cluster meetings, coordinating with the UPS Airline for dedicated charters and LET members to set up line haul networks, setting up customs processes, managing the inbound process of goods, working with local government and military officials to arrange safe distribution of food, medicine, water, and other supplies.
Mr Jörgen Bödmar is the President of EMOTA, the European Multi-channel and Online Trade Association.
He is the founder and CEO for Scandinavian Design Center, Sweden. He has his background in Executive Search and Recruitment as well as working with HR in Scandinavian Airlines.
The company was founded 2002 based on a vision to make it possible to buy Scandinavian Design home interior products globally using the Internet. Today, customers from seventy countries buy design products and get them delivered within a week.
Head of Unit - Public Interest Services, DG GROW, European Commission
Born 23 January 1968 in Austria.
Doctoral studies at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.
Professional experience within the European institutions:
11/2014 – present: Head of Unit in DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, responsible for "Public Interest Services"
04/2011 – 11/2014: Head of Unit in DG Internal Market and Services, responsible for "Online and postal services"
02/2006 – 04/2011: Head of Unit in DG Internal Market and Services, responsible for "Better Regulation Cycle: Impact Assessment and Evaluation"
06/2002 – 01/2006: DG Budget, Evaluation unit
01/2001 – 05/2002: DG Enterprise, Assistant to the Deputy Director General
06/1998 – 01/2001: DG Enterprise, Textiles and clothing unit
04/1996 – 05/1998: General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, Transport unit
Founder & CEO, FacilityLive
Since 2010 Gianpiero Lotito has been the founder, with Mariuccia Teroni, of FacilityLive, the Italian startup that develops a platform for information management driven by a next generation search engine with patents granted in 44 countries worldwide (including Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia, Israel South Africa and Australia).
Gianpiero is a technologist, with a musical career behind, who has been working for over twenty years on innovative projects in the publishing world and on technologies applied to content with Mariuccia Teroni. He taught Multimedia Publishing at the University of Milan and wrote books and articles on technology for major Italian editors like Bruno Mondadori and Gruppo Espresso.
Gianpiero is CEO and CTO of FacilityLive, and Ambassador of e-Skills for Jobs (a project under the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs of the European Commission).
Director of Marketing, International Post Corporation
In his role as Marketing Director, Götz heads IPC’s Markets, Regulatory Affairs, Communications and Intercompany Pricing services.
Herbert Götz, an Austrian national, joins IPC from Österreichische Post, where he was responsible for sales and the branch network. He led the restructuring of both the branch network and the product portfolio of Österreichische Post, and was involved in its initial public offering.
Before being recruited by Österreichische Post in 2004, Götz held several positions at Siemens AG Austria. As Head of the Information and Communication Networks Division, he managed a major re-organisation within the company as the Austrian and central/eastern European telecommunications markets were liberalised.
Serving Market Insight Professionals, Forrester Research
Michael O’Grady is a Senior Forecast Analyst within Forrester’s ForecastView team. ForecastView is a syndicated subscription service delivering access to more than 40 forecasts annually across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. ForecastView leverages consumer demand-side data through its Technographics survey data balanced with company supply-side metrics, to provide a detailed understanding of each market. Michael is responsible for a number of key five year forecasts notably: online retail sales Western Europe, web-influenced sales Western Europe and mobile commerce sales EU-7. Michael has also recently created a European cross-border forecast that looks at cross border buyer behavior as well as the share of retailers that trade cross-border. Other recently published forecasts include online retail in Russia and Poland and an online luxury goods forecast for EU-7. Prior to joining Forrester, Michael was a Portfolio Analyst working within the Life science Industry. Michael graduated from Leeds University with a first class degree in Mathematics and also has a master’s degree in IT from University College London and an MBA from the Open University.
Legal Officer, EDPS
Fabio Polverino is a Legal Officer at the European Data Protection Supervisor, specialising in data protection in the healthcare and financial services industries. Before holding this position, he was Senior Legal Counsel at a pharmaceutical multinational company and case officer at the DG Competition of the European Commission, where he worked on cartel enforcement, merger control, state aid cases and in the policy directorate. Fabio graduated in Law at the Università degli Studi di Torino, holds a LL.M. degree from the University of Chicago Law School and, as a "network fellow", has carried out research on ethics and business with the Edmund. J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
Senior Legal Officer, BEUC
David Martin is a Senior Legal Officer at BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. BEUC represents 41 independent national consumer associations from 31 European countries.
David is part of BEUC’s Digital Team, where he focuses on privacy, data protection and competition. He has been working on digital and ICT issues since 2006. Prior to joining BEUC in May 2015, David worked at the Public Affairs consultancy Burson-Marsteller and the EU Regional Office of Murcia in Brussels.
A Spanish national, David studied Law at the University of Murcia (Spain) and holds Master’s Degree in European Law from the University of Luxembourg, as well as a Postgraduate Degree on Economic and Legal EU Studies from the Collège Miguel Servet / Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Canyon Bicycles GmbH
Mr. Heitmann’s professional background began in education, where he lectured in philosophy in the United States. Mr. Heitmann has spent the last 14 years entrenched in the bicycling industry in the United States, Switzerland, and Germany. He was the director of sales and marketing for the largest online bicycle retailer in the USA, Competitive Cyclist. The acquisition of Competitive Cyclist in 2011 by one of the world’s largest multi-channel retailers for outdoor gear, Backcountry.com, provided Mr. Heitmann with vast experience in digital marketing, with particular emphasis on customer acquisition and loyalty, website development, digital user experience, email marketing, and consumer behaviour through RFM analysis.
After Backcountry.com, Mr. Heitmann became the Global Head of Marketing for BMC Switzerland Group, with marketing responsibility for the portfolio of brands including BMC, Stromer, and Bergamont. In 2014, he was recruited by Canyon Bicycles. Mr. Heitmann is responsible for delivering the Canyon brand experience through primarily digital but also traditional marketing channels, and thereby creating product demand for the world’s fastest-growing high-end bicycle brand. With deep experience in digital marketing in US and European markets, he has had unique exposure to consumer-direct sales and marketing and therefore to the varying views and concerns surrounding privacy and consumer data.
Mr. Heitmann oversees four departments, including e-commerce and digital channels. His teams work hand-in-hand with the Brand Marketing and Business Intelligence/Business Development departments to provide an increasingly better user experience in existing and new markets around the world. He is also a member of the Führungsteam (Leadership Team).
Associate Professor, University of Saint Louis
Wouter Vergote is currently Professor of Economics at the University of Saint-Louis, Brussels and also teaches at the KULeuven. His fields of specialization are industrial organization and the economics of competition policy.
He received a Master’s degree in Economics from the KULeuven, Belgium and, in 2005, a PhD in Economics from Columbia University, USA, after which he obtained consulting experience at NERA (New York) before moving back to Belgium. During 2011-2012 he worked at DG Competition focusing on State Aid in the Postal Sector. His work has been published in top field journals in economics and is cited widely. His most recent research is on pricing strategies in digital markets.
Chairman, Forum Europe
Paul Adamson is chairman of Forum Europe and founder and editor of E!Sharp, an online magazine dedicated to covering the European Union and Europe's place in the world. He is also a Senior European Policy Advisor at Covington.
He is a member of Rand Europe's Council of Advisors, sits on the external advisory board of YouGov-Cambridge, a polling think-tank, is a member of the advisory group of the Washington European Society and is a trustee of the Citizenship Foundation.
Paul is a Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, a patron of the University Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES) and a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.
He founded the consulting firm Adamson Associates, which was sold to Weber Shandwick and The Centre, which was later sold to Edelman.
In 2012, Paul was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to promoting understanding of the European Union”, a part of the Queen's 2012 New Year Honours Diplomatic Service and Overseas List.
Legal and Digital Identity Consultant , e-Berk Legal
Emre Berk is an international legal advisor/qualified lawyer, with nearly 15 years of professional work experience in both marketing/sales and legal industry with strong commercial acumen. In addition to having vast international contract drafting, reviewing and negotiation skills, have a strong Data Protection & Privacy, marketing, consumer/brand protection and general commercial law experience on the, ICT, Telecoms, FMCG and banking/finance sector clients. He publishes and speaks at various national and international sources, acted as legal counsel to Turkish Direct Marketing Association and represented the entity at FEDMA for 8 years. Emre has been involved and still actively involving in the legislative processes of Data Protection, E-Commerce and Consumer Laws in the Turkish Parliament and is one of members of related working groups in the related Ministries.
He had studied LL.M at; Queen Mary, University of London on Internet and e-Commerce Law and worked for Top 25 law firms in London for 3 years.
He was leading the Legal and Fraud Units of a Turkish internet mogul and was advising the numerous investments of the parent company, which was one of the biggest conglomerates. He recently commenced his own practice in Istanbul and advising local & international clients on legal, e-commerce fraud and digital identity protection issues.
Head of Public Policy, Allegro Group
Chris Sherwood joined the Allegro Group in 2013 as Head of Public Policy. He is the first permanent Brussels public policy professional to be employed by a European Internet company. He has responsibility for all of the Allegro Group’s public policy issues. Chris previously worked for Yahoo! as Director for Public Policy, and at the US Department of Commerce at the US Mission to the EU, where he worked on ICT sector-related issues, including privacy and environmental rules. He has also been a public affairs consultant in Brussels and an IT systems implementation consultant. He has Masters Degrees in German and European Studies. He speaks fluent English, French, German, and Polish. He has UK, French, and US nationalities.
The Allegro Group is the leading Central and East European e-commerce company, with consumer-focused businesses in 16 countries spanning e-marketplaces, e-retail, online classified ads, and e-payments. Its headquarters are in Poznań.
Johan Groffen is Partner at Print & Media Kitchen, the company behind Printbirdie.com.
He graduated in Business Engineering in 2000 from the Solvay Business School (Brussels), and completed an Executive Master in Corporate Finance at the Vlerick Business School (Ghent) in 2009.
From 2000 to 2009 he worked at Accenture, a leading global professional services company, with a specialization in Telecommunications and Media.
In 2010 Mr. Groffen was appointed General Manager of Flyer, an online printing company.
In 2012 he started his own company Printbirdie.com offering a broad range of printed materials via the Internet. The company has developed a platform that offers business customers the possibility to order online all customized and printed materials ranging from stationary and promotional prints, over apparel, signage and gifts. Today Printbirdie.com not only serves clients in multiple European countries with a full range of printed materials, but also offers a broad range of services prior to or following the production of print.
Johan Groffen serves as an independent Board Member at Van Beveren Aluminium nv since 2013, and at Eurocoating NV since 2016.
Chief Correspondent, MLex ITM
Magnus Franklin, Chief Correspondent for MLex ITM, was previously an analyst and reporter on Mobile Communications Europe and Telecom Markets. He provides comprehensive coverage of regulatory and legal developments in the telecoms, media and IT sectors both in Brussels and across Europe. Magnus studied journalism and economics in London, and works in English, Spanish, Swedish and Norwegian.