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Speaker Biographies

Please find speaker biographies below and check back regularly for updates.


Andrus Ansip

Andrus Ansip

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, European Commission


Andrus Ansip was appointed Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for the Digital Single Market in November 2014. Before moving to Brussels, he was a member of both the Estonian and European Parliaments. This followed almost nine years in Tallinn spent as Estonia's longest-serving Prime Minister, when Ansip worked with both centre-right and centre-left parties to lead three different coalition governments. During his time as Prime Minister, he also acted as chairman of Estonia's liberal Reform Party. Ansip first entered national politics in September 2004 when he became Minister of the Economy. Up to this point, his career was spent in Estonia's second largest city of Tartu where he was born in 1956.Ansip was Mayor of Tartu for six years after working in banking and business. A chemistry graduate from the city's university, Andrus Ansip is married with three children.

Sir Julian King

Sir Julian King

Commissioner for the Security Union, European Commission


Sir Julian King was appointed Commissioner for Security Union on the 19th September 2016.

He joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1985. He has held various positions, including: UK Ambassador to France (2016); Director General Economic & Consular (2014); DG of the Northern Ireland Office London and Belfast (2011); UK Ambassador to Ireland (2009); EU Commission Chef de Cabinet to Commissioner for Trade (2008); UK Representative on EU Political and Security Committee, (2004).

Sir Julian is a graduate of Oxford University. He was awarded the KCVO in 2014; CVO in 2011 and CMG in 2006.

Taimar Peterkop

Taimar Peterkop

Director General, Information System Authority, Republic of Estonia


Taimar Peterkop is Director General of the Information System Authority, where he is responsible for coordinating Estonia’s national cyber security and developing Estonia’s e-government platform.

Previously, Mr. Peterkop has worked as the Undersecretary for Legal and Administrative Affairs in Estonian Ministry of Defence, where he managed and coordinated the work of Legal Department, Finance Department,
Administration Department and IT Department.

Mr. Peterkop was born on 20th January 1977 in Tallinn. He has graduated from the University of Tartu Faculty of Law and holds a Master`s degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College. He is also a reserve officer.

During 2000–2001 Taimar Peterkop worked as a lawyer in the Government Office. Between 2001 and 2005, he worked in the Ministry of Defence as the Director of International Law Office and 2005–2008 as the Director of
Operations and Crisis Management Department. From 2008 until July 2010 he worked as a Defence Counsellor in the Estonian Embassy in Washington.

Taimar Peterkop has also worked as a national defence teacher in several high schools and as an international law lecturer at Estonian Business School.

The Information System Authority is responsible for coordinating national cyber security, developing public IT solutions, including Estonia's e-government infrastructure and administering IT-related public funds.

Despina Spanou

Despina Spanou

Director for Digital Society, Trust and Cybersecurity, DG CONNECT, European Commission


Despina Spanou was recently appointed Director for Digital Society, Trust and Cybersecurity at the Directorate-General Communications Network, Content and Technology. From 2013 to 2017 she was Director for Consumer Affairs at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers in charge of consumer policy, consumer and marketing law, redress and enforcement, and product safety. In that role she oversaw the overhaul of consumer law and enforcement as well as the integration of consumer policy in the digital single market strategy. From 2010 to 2013 she served as Principal Adviser in the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and was responsible for communication and also led the work on strategies on managing chronic diseases including the EU's contribution to the UN General Assembly on Health.

She was the Deputy Head of Cabinet for the European Commissioner for Health and Consumers Mr. Kyprianou (2004-2008) and for the Commissioner for Health, and later Education & Culture, Mrs. Vassiliou (2008-2010).

Despina Spanou started her career at the European Commission at the Directorate General for Competition. She had previously practised European law with the Brussels branch of a US law firm. She is a qualified lawyer, a member of the Athens Bar Association and holds a Ph.D. in European law from the University of Cambridge.

Kaja Kallas

Kaja Kallas

Member, European Parliament


Kaja Kallas is an Estonian politician. She is currently a Member of the European Parliament elected from Estonia and belongs to the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). She has previously worked as an attorney-at-law and been a Member of the Parliament of Estonia (Riigikogu), where she chaired the Economic Affairs Committee. She is also Vice-Chairman of the Estonian Reform Party. As an attorney, she specialised in European and Estonian competition law.

In the European Parliament Kaja Kallas serves on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and is Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU–Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. She is also a substitute for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and the Delegation for Relations with the United States. She was a rapporteur for the jointly drafted strategic report "Towards a Digital Single Market Act" that calls for ambitious action to remove barriers in the digital world as well as to avoid hindering the technological revolution by overregulating the sector.

Thomas Tschersich

Thomas Tschersich

Senior Vice President Internal Security and Cyber Defense, T-Systems


Thomas Tschersich began his career with Deutsche Telekom in 1989 as a telecommunications technician. He then went on to complete his degree in Electrical Power Technology at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences. Thomas then continued to fulfill various roles within Deutsche Telekom before becoming Assistant VP of IT Security and Information Protection for Group Security in 2000, between 2001 and 2007 he was VP of Security Strategy and Policy for Group Security. Thomas then furthered his career when he was promoted to VP of Technical Security Services for Group Business Security, a role he fulfilled between 2007 and 2009. Afterwards he took the role as the SVP of Group IT Security Service followed by the role as SVP of Group Security Services. In his current position, Thomas is the SVP of Internal Security & Cyber Defense at Telekom Security, a role he has been in since January 2017.

Stina Ehrensvärd

Stina Ehrensvärd

CEO and Founder, Yubico


CEO and Founder of Yubico, and co-inventor of the YubiKey - a small device that makes strong two-factor authentication easy and affordable for everyone. She is a visionary IT entrepreneur with proven track records of creating and bringing new technology innovations to global markets.

Stine is regularly featured in leading international tech media and an accomplished speaker on Internet identity, security and entrepreneurship. She was named as one of Inc.'s "Woman to Watch in Tech".

Paul Adamson

Paul Adamson

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 a member of the Centre for European Reform’s advisory board, Rand Europe's Council of Advisors and the external advisory board of YouGov-Cambridge, a polling think-tank. He is a member of the board of advisors of the European Institute in Washington DC, the advisory board of the Washington European Society and the advisory committee of the EU chapter of Women in International Security (WiiS).

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. In 2016 he was made a Chevalier in the Ordre national du Mérite by the French government.



Thursday 23 November, 2017
09.00 to 17.00




Thon EU

75 Rue de la Loi
B-1040 Brussels

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