GIGAEurope brings together private operators who build, operate and invest in the gigabit communications networks that enable Europe’s digital connectivity.
The Board is the managing body of the association and it consists of 8 members, including the Chair, elected by the General Assembly.
The Board’s responsibilities include preparing the association’s strategy and main priorities, setting up permanent and/or ad-hoc committees, examining membership matters and analyzing strategic partnerships. The Board also prepares the annual activity report, the financial accounts and the budget and presents them to the General Assembly.
Manuel Kohnstamm is Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Liberty Global, a position he has held since March 2012. In his current position, Manuel is an executive officer of Liberty Global and sits on the Company’s Executive Management Committee.
Based in Amsterdam and Brussels, he is responsible for regulatory strategy, public policy and government affairs throughout the Liberty Global group. Manuel joined United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC), which later merged into Liberty Global Europe, in September 1999.
Manuel graduated in Political Science and holds a Doctorandus Degree in International and European Law from the University of Amsterdam. He also holds a Postgraduate Degree in International relations from the Clingendael Diplomat School in The Hague, and successfully completed the Cable Executive Management Program from Harvard Business School, Boston (MA).
The General Assembly is the association’s highest decision-making body and it comprises all our full members.
The General Assembly’s responsibilities include deciding on the association’s strategy and main priorities, approving changes in the association’s membership, deciding on the association’s annual plan, approving the annual activity report, the financial accounts and the budget.
committees and working groups
In the Regulatory Committee, members discuss and decide upon GIGAEurope’s regulatory and public policy strategy and priorities, and on any other relevant matter concerning regulatory affairs. The Committee is formed of representatives appointed by each member of the association.
In the Communications Committee, members discuss and decide upon GIGAEurope’s communications and public relations strategy and priorities, and any other relevant matter concerning public relations affairs. The Committee is formed of representatives appointed by each member of the association.
Working Groups are created to cover various policy matters. They focus on specific dossiers/campaigns/industry topics and they work on contributions/position papers that are presented to the relevant stakeholders. A Working Group is formed of representatives from our members who express an interest in joining and contributing to that group’s specific policy matter and it is dissolved once its assigned tasks have been accomplished.
The GIGAEurope team is responsible for the day-to-day work of the association within the framework of its annual mandate. The association is managed by a Managing Director and supported by a small, but very motivated and effective team.
Our team’s main purpose is to develop and implement the public policy & communications strategy of the association, in order to strengthen the voice of the connectivity industry. The team coordinates all activities of the association and deals with financial and human resources matters.
Irina Varlan, the Managing Director of GIGAEurope, is an experienced corporate executive who has worked in multinational companies for more than 20 years.
Prior to joining GIGAEurope, she was General Counsel, Public Policy and Regulatory Director of UPC Romania, Liberty Global. Before she joined Liberty Global in 2012, Irina held a number of senior management positions in leading international telecommunications companies, including DTH Television, Telekom Romania and the American company Metromedia International.
A graduate of the Bucharest Faculty of Law, Irina is also a legal practitioner, an attorney-at-law member of the Bucharest Bar, having worked in the private legal practice at the associated law firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers Romania.
Reinald Krüger is the Vodafone Group Director of Policy & Public Affairs, based in London, UK. Prior to joining Vodafone Group in 2018, he held different management positions with the European Commission, in the Directorate-Generals for Industry, for Competition and for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.
Until 1995, Reinald was Head of the Research Group “Industrial Economics and Competition Policy” at the HWWA-Institute in Hamburg. He was also a Consultant with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in Washington, D.C. (1989) and a Competition Expert to the World Bank (1990).
Reinald is an economist by training and author of more than 30 publications in the areas of industrial economics, competition policy and transition economics.
Michael Jungwirth (born 1979) joined the Vodafone Germany Executive Committee on 1 April 2020. As Director Public Policy & External Affairs he is accountable for Public Affairs, Regulatory, External Communications and Sustainability. Prior to the new appointment he was Head of Governmental Affairs at Vodafone Deutschland GmbH for four years.
Born in Austria, Michael Jungwirth has been working in the telecommunications sector since 2003 now and has extensive experience in regulatory affairs, political affairs and HR. Before moving to Vodafone Germany he held various management positions at Telekom Austria Group (operations in 8 coun-tries) and A1 Telekom, including Human Resources Director, Head of the Regulatory and European Affairs Division and Head of Strategic Board Agendas and Coordination.
Michael Jungwirth has a master’s degree in commercial science from Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.
Thomas Roukens has been Head of Legal & Regulatory since early 2020 at Telenet, were he started in 2004 as Regulatory Affairs Manager.
He started his carrier at lawfirm De Bandt, moving quickly to the cable industry as Regulatory Affairs Manager at ECCA, the predecessor of GIGAEurope, in early 2000.
Thomas has a law degree from the Utrecht University and a post-graduate degree in European Law from Ghent University.
Only his passport reveals he is a Dutch national, having lived in Brussels on and off for over 20 years.
Thomas Braun has been a member of the board of the Broadband Association ANGA since 1993 and the association’s president since 1997. Having completed a technical and commercial training, Thomas Braun held various managing and executive positions in the communications industry.
Eke Vermeer is Vice President Public Policy at Liberty Global. Responsible to EU Affairs and the Brussels office since 2019. Prior to this, she served for 4 years as Vice President Corporate Affairs and Director, Regulation & Public Policy. She moved to Liberty Global from UPC (now VodafoneZiggo) where she served for 8 years as Senior Manager Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility. Eke is founding member and Co-Chair of Women in Cable Telecommunications Europe. Eke holds a master’s degree from the University of Groningen in International Relations and completed part of her studies at Willamette University in Oregon, USA. She is a Dutch national based in Amsterdam.
Barbara de Ridder-Jongerden (1975) has been Executive Director External & Legal Affairs since the start of VodafoneZiggo on 1 January 2017. Prior to that, Barbara had been Director Corporate Affairs & Strategy at Vodafone Netherlands since 2014. In this role she was responsible for strategy, security, legal, regulatory and external affairs. Barbara came to Vodafone in 2012 as Head of Legal Affairs. Before that, she worked for PwC, Corporate Express (now Staples) and Liberty Global, among others. Barbara studied Dutch Law and Law & Economics at the University of Utrecht. Additional positions: boardroom member of RODAP (Rechtenoverleg voor Distributie van Audiovisuele Producties), boardroom member of Giga Europe, boardroom coach at Talent naar de Top.
Erzsébet Fitori is responsible for Vodafone Group’s engagement with the EU institutions and other key EU stakeholders. She currently heads Vodafone’s Brussels office and also represents the company as Board Director in industry organisations. Previous to joining Vodafone Group in 2020 Erzsébet was Director General of the FTTH Council Europe, the pan-European trade association representing over 160 technology innovators, network operators and investors across the fibre value chain. During her tenure as chief executive she focused on transforming it into a growing organisation, significantly increasing its membership base, revenues and engagement with key policy makers, supported by an excellent and committed team. Before moving to the FTTH Council she was representing over 100 challenger telecoms operators as the Director of the European Competitive Telecommunications Association. She oversaw ECTA’s public policy, regulatory and PR activities and led ECTA’s engagement with the EU institutions, national regulators and governments. Prior to joining ECTA she was Head of Regulatory Affairs at Telenor Hungary in Budapest. In her early career Erzsébet was an assistant professor in the department of European law and private international law at the University of Miskolc in Hungary. She holds an LL.M. in European law from Leiden University and a degree in law from the University of Miskolc, Hungary. Erzsébet lives in Brussels with her husband and two sons.