The Sovrin Foundation Announces Formation of a New Board of Trustees

June 4, 2020

June 3, 2020: The Sovrin Foundation announced today a slate of five initial nominees for a new Board of Trustees that will be formally elected at the Foundation’s annual meeting on June 17. This was the culmination of a two-month intensive community feedback process overseen by the Sovrin Transition Committee. “The primary goal of the Transition Committee was to listen to the voice of the Sovrin community about the next stage of growth for the Sovrin ecosystem. We heard that voice loud and clear – so clearly that we recommended several key leaders in the community be nominated to form a new board,” said outgoing board member Joyce Searls, co-chair of the Transition Committee. 

This transition has the unanimous support of the current board. “The founding board members, who I want to thank for their three years of service in growing Sovrin into a worldwide community for self-sovereign identity, are very happy to see a new generation assume the mantle of leadership,” said Phil Windley, who has served as board chair since the inception of the Foundation in September 2016. “All current board members have pledged to continue to actively support the new board as it tackles the challenges of scaling the Sovrin Network to accomplish the longstanding mission of the Sovrin Foundation to provide Identity for All.”

The new board nominees, whose bios are listed below, have all been major contributors to the Sovrin community with extensive backgrounds in digital identity, security, privacy, and trust infrastructure. They are firmly committed to maintaining the operational stability of MainNet and do not intend to introduce any changes that will detract from that goal. 

Another goal of the nominees is initiating a community-based process for nominating and electing additional board members to represent the full diversity, complexity, and richness of the global Sovrin community. All members of the Sovrin community are invited to participate in this process.

As the Sovrin Foundation focuses on its next phase of growth, scale, and interoperability within the Trust over IP ecosystem, it is important to recognize the significant achievements the founding board members, the former Foundation staff, and the Sovrin community have made up to this point. The Sovrin Foundation 2019 Annual Report documents these incredible efforts.

Some highlights of the report include:

The outgoing Trustees remain committed to achieving Sovrin’s core mission, and to promoting the interests of the Sovrin community as a whole. They will continue to mentor, advise and support the new board to ensure that the transition is seamless.

Moving forward into the latter half of this year, the Sovrin community will build on the gains of 2019 and early 2020 and begin the next phase of community growth and development. As always, everyone is encouraged to join the Foundation in striving to accomplish its core mission of Identity for All.

The nominees welcome your ideas. Please feel free to provide your feedback via the following survey:

The bios of the new board nominees are listed below:

André Kudra

Dr. André Kudra has more than 14 years of information security consulting experience. In his career he held various key positions in major information security projects of global enterprise organizations. He studied business administration at the European Business School (EBS) in Oestrich-Winkel, Germany, and computer science at the James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. He finalized his academic career with a doctorate at the EBS in which he analyzed resistance against IT-based change in the German public sector. Since 2013 André is co-owner and CIO of esatus AG, a consulting company specialized in information security matters, with its headquarter near Frankfurt in the Rhine-Main area. esatus AG is among the Sovrin Founding Stewards, operating a MainNet node. esatus AG holds memberships at Trust over IP Foundation, MyData, IT Security Association Germany (TeleTrusT), German Alliance for Cyber Security and German Blockchain Association (Bundesblock). André is a strong advocate of Self-Sovereign Identity, with many publications and conference participations, and has been a Sovrin Technical Governance Board member. He is a retro computing enthusiast and considers himself tech-savvy despite business degrees.

Nicky Hickman

Nicky Hickman has worked as a product and innovation manager in the mobile telecoms and internet sectors for over 25 years in markets as diverse as South Africa, Philippines and Belgium. She has been working in digital identity and personal data markets since 2004 designing and commercialising large scale consumer-facing identity capabilities for companies such as Vodafone, O2, BSkyB, Verizon, Barclays and GSMA. Nicky also has a special interest in digital inclusion and her participation in Sovrin since 2016, has focused on the ‘Inclusive by Design’ principle, Guardianship and the I4A mission. Nicky also built an IT professional services and consulting company, Inglis Jane Ltd, which she sold in 2019. Nicky has studied in France and UK and has a degree in History, post-graduate qualifications in International Trade with Asia Pacific and most recently, Social Anthropology. In her spare time Nicky volunteers as a college mentor and youth outward bound leader.

Philippe Page

Philippe Page holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Neuchâtel University in Switzerland and held a research position working on supersymmetry at McGill university in Montreal, Canada. Then via risk management and its contribution to the development of an enterprise wide risk management software, his career turned to finance. Starting with the European Financial Group he moved to Deutsche Bank and finally to a COO position for a Geneva based private bank. To address the growing mistrust in information technologies, Philippe founded in 2018  LtHC -Let the Human Create, a management consultancy boutique focused on the Impact of digital transformation on managerial structures as well as the introduction of decentralised digital Identity through specific projects in the area of data protection and humanitarian applications. Since 2020 Philippe is also chair of the Board of Trustees of The Human Colossus Foundation, co-chair of the Sovrin’s Guardianship Working Group, implements decentralised identity in humanitarian projects and is an active member of the Swiss Association of Managers.

Sam Smith

Samuel M. Smith Ph.D. works at the intersection of AI, blockchain, and decentralized identity systems as both an entrepreneur and strategic consultant. He has written and continues to write seminal white papers on decentralized identity, reputation AI, distributed computing, and machine learning. He provides strategic technical and business model guidance to startups in these fields and is active in shaping the underlying standards and driving their adoption.  Samuel received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1991. He spent 10 years at Florida Atlantic University, reaching full professor status before retiring to become an entrepreneur. He has over 100 refereed publications in the areas of machine learning, autonomous vehicle systems, automated reasoning, and decentralized systems. He was principal investigator on numerous federally funded research projects. Dr. Smith is an active participant in open standards development and is a serial entrepreneur.

Stephen Curran

Stephen Curran, of Cloud Compass Computing, Inc., is a Software Development and DevOps veteran who dove full on into the decentralized identity world in 2017. Working with the Government of British Columbia (Canada), Stephen has helped define, build and launch the Verifiable Organizations Network (VON)—a production instance of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Indy and Aries projects rooted on the Sovrin Foundation’s MainNet, which makes public information about organizations (corporations/legal entities) in BC available in the form of verifiable credentials. Stephen is a regular contributor in the Indy and Aries communities, as well as at the Decentralized Identity and Trust over IP Foundations, facilitating discussions and driving interoperability. Stephen is a serial presenter on Blockchain and the Hyperledger Indy and Aries projects and is co-author of two edX Linux Foundation Trust over IP courses, covering both the business/human side of Trust over IP and the underlying technology. He has been a member of the Sovrin Foundation’s Technical Governance Board and a keen listener of all perspectives on digital identity.

« »