Board of Directors

Thorsten Mayer | Chief Executive Officer

Thorsten is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) / Managing Director of Vanguard Automation GmbH. He joined Vanguard in 2020 and served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for one year.

Prior to joining Vanguard Automation, Thorsten has held several regional and global leadership positions at National Instruments (NI) in sales, strategic marketing and operations. Amongst his roles at NI he served as Managing Director for East-Central Europe quadrupling revenues and profits over seven years and led high-impact transformational projects at the global level as Chief of Staff and Global Head of Alliance Sales & Strategic Partnerships. He has lived and worked in four countries. Thus, he offers U.S. Corporate, European and Asian experience and a strong international background to business development and geographical expansion. Thorsten has also been contributing through his voluntary work at SWAN Impact Network, both as investor and advisor, to startups with measurable social or environmental impact.


Prof. Dr. Christian Koos 

Christian is co-founder of Vanguard Automation GmbH and serves as a board member and strategic technology advisor. 

He is a professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) since 2010, where he is affiliated with the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ) and the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT). His research focusses on integrated photonics and the associated applications in high-speed optical communications, optical signal processing, biophotonics, as well as optical sensing and metrology. Christian received the PhD (Dr.-Ing.) degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe in 2007. From 2008 to 2010, he was leading the technology radars “Nanotools and Nanometrology” and “Metrology” within the Corporate Research and Technology department of Carl Zeiss AG, Germany.


Alois Hauk

Alois is co-founder of Vanguard Automation GmbH and serves as a board member and industrial advisor. He has been CEO of Vanguard Automation since the company’s incorporation in September 2017 and handed over his baton as a CEO to Thorsten on November 2021.

Before Vanguard, Alois is building upon a more than 30 years of experience in leading positions in the IT, communications, and photonics test & measurement industry, he contributes profound skills in industrial leadership and business development. He was Senior Manager at Hewlett-Packard and Managing Director at Tektronix and Agilent Technologies in Germany. He received his engineering degree in Computer Science in 1981 from the University of Applied Sciences in Esslingen, Germany.




 Torsten Vahrenkamp, CEO of ficonTEC Service GmbH, Achim, Germany

Torsten is Chief Executive Officer of ficonTEC and serves as a board member and advisor for Vanguard Automation.

Torsten holds a Diploma for Applied Laser Technologies from the University of Applied Sciences in Emden, Germany in 1998. During further work at the Institute of Laser Technology in Emden and University of Loughborough, UK, he built a fully automatic laser lithography system for rapid generation of microstructures in submicron dimensions. He also developed a process to generate the world’s first in-glass diffractive optics using ion exchange processes in gradient refractive index glass, and which is still used today for the generation of waveguides in glass.

Matthias Trinker, CFO of ficonTEC Service GmbH, Achim, Germany

Matthias is Chief Financial Officer of ficonTEC and serves as a board member and advisor for Vanguard Automation.

He graduated in business administration in 1997 from the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien in Vienna, Austria. Before co-founding ficonTEC Service GmbH in 2001, he worked as a financial controller for Siemens Thailand from 1997 until 2001.