Keynote Speakers 2017

Toshihiro Hirai, B.Eng.

Alliance Global Director and Corporate Vice President of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Toshihiro Hirai is Alliance Global Director and Corporate Vice President for Powertrain & Electric Vehicle Engineering at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., since 2014. He manages the Powertrain Engineering organization of all gasoline, Diesel, hybrid and drivetrain activities within Nissan/Renault and their alliance.

Mr. Hirai graduated as Bachelor of Engineering at Waseda University in Japan in 1984. He joined Nissan subsequently and worked in the field of powertrain component system design until 2000. In the following years, he was engaged in the Renault & Nissan Alliance Engine Project Management. From 2010 to 2013, Mr. Hirai was Program Director for QASHQAI, X-TRAIL & INFINITI before taking over his current responsibility.

Dipl.-Ing. Ulrich W. Walker

Chairman and CEO of Borgward Group AG

Dipl.-Ing. Ulrich W. Walker is Chairman and CEO of the Borgward Group AG since April 2015. Previously, he occupied various management positions at renowned OEMs. He was Chairman and CEO of Daimler North East Asia/Greater China from 2006 to 2013. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Walker was CEO and President of smart GmbH as well as Member of the Board of Mercedes Car Group. Before this time, Mr. Walker worked for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation as Member of the Board until 2004. Moreover, he was Executive Vice President for Car Product Operations from 2002 to 2004 and Senior Vice President for R&D and Product planning from 2000 to 2002 at Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. Ulrich W. Walker started his professional career at Mercedes-Benz after finishing his studies in Mechanical Engineering at Stuttgart University in 1978. Until the year 2000, Mr. Walker held several positions at Mercedes-Benz, among them a position as Senior Vice President in the field of Service for Passenger cars and Carrier Vehicles from 1999 – 2000.

Prof. Dr. Ralf G. Herrtwich

Senior Vice President Automotive of HERE

Ralf G. Herrtwich runs the Automotive Business Group of HERE, the leading digital map maker and open location platform provider. The product groups in his portfolio include in-vehicle infotainment systems from navigation to advanced driver assistance, connected vehicle services for mobility and safety, plus key technologies for automated vehicles, most notably high-definition self-healing lane-level maps. Before joining HERE, Dr. Herrtwich developed self-driving vehicles for Mercedes-Benz. In 2013, his team made an S-Class re-enact the world’s first overland drive, covering the historic 65-miles Bertha Benz Route autonomously in regular traffic. A computer scientist by education, he started his career in academia at TU Berlin and UC Berkeley. He then held management positions with IBM and several telecommunication start-ups before joining Daimler in 1998 to manage its research and predevelopment on telematics, infotainment and, later, driver assistance and chassis systems. Since 2009, he also is honorary professor for vehicle information technology at TU Berlin.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann

Chairman of the Management Board of Opel Group GmbH

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann has been at the helm of the automaker Opel since 2013. He was named Chairman of the Board of Adam Opel AG and President Europe in March 2013. Since July 2014, Dr. Neumann has been Chairman of the Management Board of Opel Group GmbH. In addition, he is also General Motors Executive Vice President & President Europe as well as a member of the GM Executive Committee. Dr. Neumann was previously with Volkswagen AG, where he held various management positions since 1999, for example as CEO and Vice President of Volkswagen Group China. From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Neumann was a member of the Executive Board at Continental AG. In December 2009, he returned to Volkswagen AG and took over company-wide responsibility for electric propulsion. Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann was born on April 1, 1961 in Twistringen in Lower Saxony. He studied electrical engineering at the Universities of Dortmund and Duisburg, where he was also awarded his doctorate. He began his professional career at the Fraunhofer Institute and Motorola Semiconductor.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Gutzmer

Chief Technology Officer and Deputy CEO of Schaeffler AG

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Gutzmer studied mechanical engineering at the University of Stuttgart, where he received his doctoral degree on the subject of internal combustion engines. After six years of research at the Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines in Stuttgart, he began his professional career at Porsche in 1984, where he assumed various project management and leadership responsibilities for engine and vehicle development. Since 2001, Prof. Gutzmer works in leading positions for Schaeffler Group. When the company’s legal entity changed to Schaeffler AG in 2011, he became Chief Technology Officer and, in December 2013, he was appointed as a Member of the Supervisory Board of Continental AG. In June 2014, Prof. Gutzmer was appointed Deputy CEO of Schaeffler AG. He is associate lecturer at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) since 2004 and member of several boards