Management Team

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.


Gero Fellert | Head of Finance and Administration

Gero joined Vanguard Automation in 2021 and serves as Head of Finance and Administration and is an authorized signatory of Vanguard Automation. He received the Diploma of forestry scientist from the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg, Germany, in 1996. Two years later, 1998 he obtained the „Große Staatsexamen“ of the state of Baden-Württemberg as an assessor of the forestry service. From 1998 up to 1999 he completed a banking training to become a bank clerk with the additional qualification Financial Management. While working in a bank, he also completed a degree in business administration (BA) in 2003. From 2004 to 2021 he worked in various national and international companies as a commercial manager with signature authority.

Dr. Sebastian Skacel | Head of Applications Engineering, Support and Services

Sebastian joined Vanguard Automation in October 2018 and serves as Head of Applications Engineering, Support and Services at Vanguard Automation GmbH, overseeing the customer engagement process including technical demonstrations, delivery of products and solutions as well as customer success. He also spearheads many of Vanguard’s business development and marketing efforts. Prior to joining Vanguard, Sebastian worked in academia as well as in the automotive industry (Harman International) in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Russia. He contributes extensive experience in nanofabrication, high frequency applications, project management, leadership and quality testing. Sebastian serves voluntarily as member of the selection committee for new scholars of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Sebastian holds a PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) degree in Physics from Karlsruhe Institute of Technologies (KIT) for which he was granted a scholarship of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. His PhD was in the field of superconducting quantum circuits such as qubits.

Dr. Matthias Lauermann | Head of Research & Development

Matthias is a key member of Vanguard Automation from its inception in September 2017. He serves as Head of R&D of Vanguard Automation where he oversees the development of materials, standard fabrication processes, control software, optical systems, and machines. In addition, he leads Vanguard’s patent activities and many funded research programs. Prior to joining Vanguard Automation, he was a senior development engineer at Infinera Corp. in Sunyvale, CA, USA. Matthias received the Diploma and Dr.-Ing. degree from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, in 2011 and 2017, respectively, focusing during his doctorate mainly on integrated optics. From 2012 to 2015, he was a Research Assistant with the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Philipp-Immanuel Dietrich | Technology Fellow

Philipp serves as Technology Fellow at Vanguard Automation. He is also a co-founder of Vanguard Photonics, one of two joint venture partners which make up Vanguard Automation. In his role he spearheads the acquisition of funded research programs and oversees its execution. He provides technology leadership across all technical groups and key R&D projects, as well as develops strategy technology partnerships. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering in the field of 3D nano-printed photonic structures such as micro-optical lenses and photonic wire bonds. He has contributed to several patents and journal publications in the area of additive manufacturing and received an IBM PhD Fellowship Award 2015.