OPC Foundation elects new board of directors, names Dr. Holger Kenn chairman

June 9, 2022

The OPC Foundation is welcoming Dr. Holger Kenn (Microsoft), Claudius Link (SAP), Andreas Faath (VDMA), Aurelien Le Sant (Schneider-Electric) and Dr. Kazuhiro Kusunoki (Mitsubishi Electric) to its Board of Directors and naming Dr. Kenn as the board’s newly elected Chairman. 

Kenn replaces Veronica Schmid-Lutz as the chairperson. He has extensive technical and business-related IoT experience gained working with Microsoft customers and partners for more than a decade. Kenn’s insights from an IT company perspective and leadership will play a key role in helping the board navigate the challenges and opportunities in the increasingly mixed IT and OT business landscape.    

“I am honored by the trust and confidence placed in me by my fellow board members. With the future opportunities in the domain of OT that are offered by the cloud, but also emerging technologies such as autonomy, AI, and the industrial metaverse, there has never been a better time to work together within the OPC Foundation," Kenn said. 

Reflecting on the broader context an organization like the OPC Foundation plays in the global community, Kenn added: “At the same time, we all realize that disruption can occur rapidly, like global catastrophes such as the COVID-19 pandemic. But also, the far-reaching consequences of the climate crisis and the necessary decarbonization reminds us that it is also up to the engineers and technologists like us to ensure a resilient and safe future of our planet.”

The OPC Foundation thanks Schmid-Lutz (SAP), Dr. Fabrice Jadot (Schneider-Electric) and Russ Agrusa (ICONICS/Mitsubishi Electric) for their years of service on its board of directors.

On the new board, Claudius Link, senior vice president of engineering for manufacturing and industrial IoT at SAP, will replace Schmid-Lutz on the board; Aurelien Le Sant, CTO industrial automation and SVP innovation & technology, will replace Jadot as the Schneider-Electric representative; and Kazuhiro Kusunoki, chief technology officer of Factory Automation Systems Group, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., replaced Agrusa. 

The OPC Foundation members elected Faath, managing director of the machine information interoperability department (MII) at VDMA as a new member on the board of directors. Faath looks after member companies’ OPC UA needs by coordinating OPC UA-based information model definition efforts via OPC Foundation Joint Working Groups. Faath has wide-ranging exposure to the changing needs of businesses in process and discrete markets. He is actively involved in the broader Information Model standardization and harmonization efforts globally. 

Commenting on the role OPC UA plays in the industry, Faath said: “The machine and plant engineering industry favors OPC UA communication technology for Industry 4.0. This is reflected in the enormous OPC UA Companion Specification development efforts being put in by more than 600 European and international companies as they develop industry-specific interfaces via over 40 OPCF [OPC Foundation] joint working groups under the leadership of the VDMA. Through this worldwide, unique technological breadth of the numerous working groups, we also succeed in harmonization in the so-called OPC UA for Machinery. In summary, we are developing the world language of production based on OPC UA."

Stefan Hoppe, president, OPC Foundation, added: “OPCF started as an OT dominated organization – we extended the board representatives to IT in 2015 and now it’s the second time an IT company is elected as chairperson. Microsoft has been spent huge efforts over years supporting open international standards – electing Dr. Kenn is reflecting these efforts. As OPC UA is more than just a protocol and instead the value is to transport standardized information models it’s a logical consequence that VDMA with pushing half of the 65+ information models is represented on the BoD now. Mr. Faath is getting the honor of all the efforts from all more than 600 VDMA member companies around the world trusting the promise of industrial interoperability. The mix of OT and IT companies comprising the OPC Foundation board of directors attests to how far the organization has grown from its shop-floor-centric OT roots to playing a key role in enterprise-wide and cloud-based IT solutions.“

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