The Team

We have a team of exceptionally talented people across five countries; in the USA, Switzerland, the UK, the Netherlands and Vietnam. Our team of scientists and engineers are among some of the best in the world and are connected with the most advanced research centres on the planet.

Thomas Leurent


About Thomas

Thomas Leurent is the CEO and Co-Founder of Predictive Digital Twin pioneer, Akselos. He’s based in the company’s global headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. An MIT alumnus, Thomas has spent the past seven years building Akselos into the digital transformation disruptor that it is today. From early beginnings working with MIT Industrial Liaison Program in 2012, Thomas has grown the business into a successful international company with operations in Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia. Akselos’ most recent funding round involved Shell Ventures and Innogy Ventures.

The company brings technology to market that is transforming industrial asset management in oil and gas, offshore wind and beyond. The emerging nature of the technology has led Thomas to represent deep tech’s interests and potential as a World Energy Leader within the World Energy Council’s network of global CEOs and Government leaders.

Thomas is an active part of the global technology innovation ecosystem, having invested in a number of successful deep-tech start-ups such as Sophia Genetics. An engineer by background, Thomas studied Mechanical Engineering at The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and later completed an MSc in the MIT laboratory where the research for Akselos’ core technology was carried out. Before co-founding Akselos, he worked as a research scientist for the US Department of Energy, and later pursued a career at the intersection of Energy, Financial Risk Management, and Innovation.


Dr. David Knezevic

CTO and co-founder

About David

Dr. David Knezevic is Co-Founder and CTO of Akselos. In this role, he has led Akselos’ technology development in order to deliver advanced digital twin technologies for critical assets to a range of industries.

After completing his Ph.D. at Oxford, Dr. Knezevic joined Prof. A.T. Patera’s group at MIT, where he worked on the Reduced Basis method that is the foundation of Akselos’ technology. In parallel to founding Akselos, David was a Lecturer in the Institute for Applied Computational Science at Harvard University.

David has expertise in a range of areas related to computational engineering, including applied mathematics, computer science, software engineering and supercomputing. He has 16 articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals and has presented his research at many technical conferences around the world.


Phuong Huynh

VP of Engineering / Head of Operations & Research and co-founder

About Phuong

Phuong is a Co-Founder of Akselos and Head of Operations and Research. Phuong is in charge of recruiting, managing and leading a team in Vietnam for software development and production. He and his team have successfully delivered projects to a number of companies in mining, power systems, upstream oil and gas and offshore wind.

Before working to launch Akselos in 2011, he was a post-doctoral associate in Prof. Anthony Patera’s group in MIT, working on the Reduced Basis method that is central to Akselos’ technology. During this period, Phuong and colleagues were awarded the Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) prize by Springer for their work on the Reduced Basis software.

Phuong has expertise in applied mathematics, computational simulation, and computer graphics. He has extensive software development experience on a variety of platforms. He has published 17 articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and has presented his works at many international conferences around the world, some of which as an invited and keynote speaker.


John Bell

Senior VP Sales

About John

John Bell is our SVP of Sales. John brings to the position a successful track record of more than 30 years including high-profile leadership positions and recognized sales achievements in the tech and oil and gas industries.

Prior to joining Akselos John was CEO of 3D modelling pioneer INOVx Solutions, where he grew the business in the oil and gas and power and utility sectors. He was also Head of EMEA at Aspen Technology, where he achieved the largest market share for the business and grew revenue by more than 200%.

John is responsible for driving global sales and leading a team of experienced sales professionals, with a focus on growing Akselos’s client base in the energy sector.


Andrew Young

VP of Product Engineering & Delivery

About Andrew

Andrew is an experienced program manager with over 10 years’ experience in the energy sector,   leading innovation and change projects for large multi-nationals.

Andrew’s has held a number of senior roles for companies such as Sinopec, IBM and IHSmarkit, delivering multi-million dollar projects for both oil and gas and operators and service companies.

Andrew is responsible for the delivery of our complex engineering projects, working closely with our customers and production team in Vietnam.


Mat Podskarbi

VP of Sales America

About Mat

Mat Podskarbi is our VP of sales in the Americas. Mat has nearly 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and has held global leadership positions in engineering, operations, business development and sales.

Mat’s previous roles include senior positions with Schlumberger where he was responsible for the product definition and market implementation of the flexible pipe monitoring business, OneSubsea, Yokogawa, Deep Flex and Fourpointzero. Through these roles he has gained expertise in business development, sales, marketing, technology development and product management.

Mat has lived and worked in Poland, UK, US and France. He has a successful track record of developing and introducing multiple advanced technology products and services both in corporate and venture-backed start-up environments.


Michiel Van Haersma Buma

VP of Customer Success

About Michiel

Michiel van Haersma Buma is Vice President for Customer Success at Akselos. Michiel joined Akselos having spent three years supporting the team as one of Shell Venture’s portfolio companies and being energized by the unique capabilities of Akselos’ technology. He joined the leadership team in 2021 to help drive revolutionary results for customers and to accelerate global growth as the company scales.

Passionate about emerging technology deployment and adoption, Michiel founded Shell Venture’s implementation team in 2016 and supported dozens of early stage companies to scale and grow prior to joining Akselos. At Shell Ventures, he generated over $150m in value by deploying portfolio company technologies and business models on Shell’s global energy assets. He has also held board observer positions for a number of energy technology startups.

Michiel has a broad range of expertise and experience from different levels. He began his working life at Shell as a Mechanical Engineer working in various technical and commercial roles across the world, and was recently recognized as one of the top-50 rising stars in the CVC industry by Global Corporate Venturing.


Frans Rijk

Global Account Director for Royal Dutch Shell

About Frans

Frans recently joined Akselos in the position of Global Account Director for Royal Dutch Shell. In his role Frans is responsible for developing and driving global sales and is our first point of contact in all communication between Shell and Akselos. Frans brings to the position a successful track record of more than 25 years of global sales to some of the largest corporates, mostly in the O&G and Energy vertical.

Prior to joining Akselos, Frans held global sales positions at HP, EMC, Microsoft and ServiceNow, building strong partnerships with customers and channel & alliances partner communities. Frans has a track record of helping Shell create and deliver global business value for over 12 years.


Dylan Mitchell

Sales Account Director


Dylan Mitchell is the Sales Account Director responsible for Wind and New Energy. He’s based in the company’s global headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dylan has recently joined Akselos having spent the last ten years working across the offshore wind supply chain.

An engineer by background, Dylan studied Civil Engineering at the University of Southampton. However, Dylan soon found his specialism in developing new products and services in new markets in offshore wind; building the first offshore wind termination and testing team at Prysmian cable and later leading the MHI Vestas US market entry activities.


Philippe Lepage

Human Resources Director

About Philippe

Philippe is the Human Resources Director at Akselos. In his role he is responsible for adapting our people strategy to meet the needs of a rapidly growing business and creating a robust and ambitious HR agenda enabling employees to thrive in a high-pressure start-up environment.

Graduating with a Master’s 2nd degree in Human Resources from Paris XII University in 2000 Philippe has worked for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts as Recruitment & Training Manager, Swisscom as Director of HR EMEA and Hoist Group as Head of Corporate HR EMEA.

Philippe is working to foster a culture of success across an employee population intended to double year-on-year and is recruiting senior executive professionals based around the globe.


Dr. Weiming Lan

Sales Engineer


Weiming is a sales Engineer at Akselos he is engaged in revenue planning, sales strategies and growing market share. He achieves this by applying technical expertise and a solution-oriented approach to selling Akselos products to existing and new customers..

After gaining a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Carolina 2006 Weiming worked as a Senior Modeling and Simulation Engineer for 7 years at Schlumberger.

As well as being experienced within the oil and gas sector Weiming has worked in the auto and nuclear industries.


Dr. Sylvain Vallaghe

Principal Scientist

About Sylvain

Sylvain works towards expanding the scope of applications of Akselos’ technology by developing new mathematical formulations and computational algorithms. He develops and implements some of the technological enablers that will satisfy, or even anticipate, new customer needs. He gained his Phd from Inira and worked as a post-doc researcher at MIT.


Dr. Jonas Ballani

Principal Scientist

About Jonas

Jonas is a scientific developer of key technologies at Akselos. He continuously improves the capabilities of Akselos’ core technology by developing cutting-edge numerical algorithms for high-performance computing. He obtained his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig.


Dr. John Peterson

PhD, Core Technology Developer

About John

John is a computational scientist and developer of the core scientific technologies at Akselos. He was one of the original authors of the general purpose libMesh finite element library which forms the backbone of Akselos’ reduced-basis simulation capability.

After obtaining his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at in 2008 John worked for two years as a Research Associate at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. Following this he spent 8 years working for the US Department of Energy at Idaho National Laboratory.

John has over 20 years of experience developing finite element software in C++, and joined Akselos in 2019 as a core technology developer working on both the finite element analysis and component-based reduced-basis aspects of the software.


Dr. Brian Sabbey

Chief Architect

About Brian

Brian’s responsibilities include designing and developing user interfaces, 3D visualization tools and cloud-based infrastructure. He leads development of desktop and browser-based applications for assembling and visualizing large-scale, parametrized, component-based models. He also directs Akselos’ deployment of scalable simulation engine on Google Compute Engine. He holds a PhD in physics from the University of Washington in Seattle.


Thach Luu

Channel Sales Manager in APAC

Joining Akselos in August 2014, Thach is one of the first engineers in the company. Together with the team, Thach had done several projects to help leading organizations protect large and complex Assets with Akselos Digital Guardian.
In August 2020, he moved up to become a Channel Sales Manager of Akselos in APAC. Now he is in charge of finding, winning, and maintaining relationships with channels and partners of Akselos in the APAC region.
Thach holds a Bachelor of Engineer degree from the Department of Aeronautical Engineering in the “Excellence Engineers Training Program in Vietnam (P.F.I.E.V)” ,a joint education program between the University of Technology in Ho Chi Minh City & ISAE-ENSMA (France). This program has been evaluated and accredited by Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur (CTI) and European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education (ENAEE).

Alexandra Maurer

Sales & Operations Manager

About Alexandra

Alexandra’s main role is to optimize and implement sales processes, and maximize the sales workflow to allow the team to spend more time with customers. Her tasks also include analyzing performance metrics data and leverage it to improve productivity and efficiency.


Nicolas Scire

Finance and Operations Manager

About Nicolas

Nicolas is is responsible for the finance function, assisting with risk management, Human Resources and contracting.


Meron Haileselasie

Product Marketing Manager

About Meron

Meron is responsible for assisting the sales team, guaranteeing effective communication across all channels, interacting and collaborating with marketing agencies and external consultants. Her tasks also include coordinating and scheduling the release of content created by external stakeholders, assisting the project manager and external consultants on the development of business plan and hold regular meetings to report the progress of each project.


Prof. Anthony Patera

Advisory Board: Ford Professor of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT

About Anthony

Professor Patera has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a doctoral degree in Applied Mathematics also from MIT.  His interests are partial differential equations, variational techniques, computational methods, numerical analysis, model order reduction, real-time computation, data assimilation, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, acoustics, and continuum mechanics.

Professor Patera’s research has led in several cases to MIT technology licenses and subsequently commercial software: his earlier research on spectral element methods was commercialized by Nektonics, Inc., as the NEKTON code; his current research on reduced basis component methods is presently under commercialization by Akselos SA.

Professor Patera served for almost two decades as a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Materials Research Council and subsequently Defense Sciences Research Council. Professor Patera also served for almost a decade as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the SMAI journal Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Analysis (M2AN).


Jens Peter Riber

Advisory Board: Former director of engineering at Maersk Oil

About Jens

Jens Peter spent over 30 years with Maersk Oil in roles including technical director and director of engineering, and has joined the Akselos’ advisory board in 2017.

Jens Peter carries with him an incredible track record in the oil and gas industry as technical director with a background as a structural engineer, working on the design, construction and maintenance of large-scale offshore structures.


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