Tom Burke stepped down as President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation after 23 years of leadership. He will remain on the Board of Directors continuing his global evangelization for the standard.

Stefan Hoppe, currently a vice president of the organization, becomes the new President and Executive Director. This follows on the recent news that the Board created a new Chair position and elected Veronika Schmid-Lutz of SAP to that position.

Hoppe is a familiar face in the community through his work as VP of Marketing for the past four years.

He joined BECKHOFF in 1995 where he developed OPC classic server and in 2006 the first OPC UA server integrated into an embedded controller. In 2008 he initiated and chaired the PLCopen OPC UA Companion working group. In 2010 Mr. Hoppe was elected President of OPC Foundation Europe. Since 2014, he is Vice President of the OPC Foundation and member of the OPC Board.

Hoppe said “It is truly an honor to be entrusted with the responsibility and exciting opportunity to lead this incredible global organization towards its full potential. While the OPC Foundation roots come from industrial automation and will always be grounded there, I believe it is our duty to greatly widen our horizons in multiple directions – inside industrial automation but also into other new markets.“

On the future adoption of the OPC technology Mr. Hoppe continued, “the value of the open, secure, vendor independent data interoperability the OPC UA standard introduces is universal and is as important to IoT applications across all markets as Ethernet was to connect computers and is to the Internet. My mission is to position and grow the OPC Foundation to work on this scale.”

Elaborating on his decision to change roles, Burke said, “After an amazing 23 years, I have decided it is time to turn over the reins of the day-to-day operations as the President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation to the next generation. I believe Stefan Hoppe is the right person for this job as he has clearly demonstrated his commitment and strong leadership on many occasions. I look forward to him advancing the OPC Foundation and its OPC UA technology.”

Hoppe concluded “On behalf of the OPC Foundation I sincerely thank Thomas Burke for the vision, leadership, and tireless evangelism he provided all these years. It was great to work with Thomas Burke for the last 8 years and I appreciate his decision to continue his worldwide OPC UA evangelization and contribution of his deep valued insights and strategic advice.”

I am not surprised by the changes. I’ve worked closely with Tom for many years. I’ve also known Stefan since his days at Beckhoff Automation. His presentations for OPC UA have increasingly become less German-centric remaining a powerful statement of the value of standards for the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation.

I view this transition as a classic move from the entrepreneur to management. In the end it will be a positive step for the organization. I wish them all well.

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