C-suite Awards 2022

CEO MONTHLY / C-suite Awards 2022 21 Mar22662 Marek Szelesmay be young, but he should not be underestimated. He already boasts over eight years of experience working in leading positions in both academia and industry, which is complimented by an abundance of knowledge surrounding AI, software engineering, and information technology. Such work has ledMarek across the globe, enabling him to have the unique privilege of partaking in projects across the world inmore than 15 countries including Germany, the UK, and the United States. Indeed, his journey to the top has been far fromnormal, but it is these experiences that have shaped Marek into the leader and academic he is today. ‘I startedmy professional career on a very ordinary graduate path, going intoManagement Consulting, but I dare say I started there in an unusual way,’ Marek comments. Whilst still at grammar school, Marek acquired a position at one of the world’s biggest consulting firms – The Boston Consulting Group. As such, Marek became the youngest employee ever hired by the company’s Prague office. He soon found himself rapidly progressing through In his career to date, Marek Szeles has already gained a lifetime of achievements. From rising through the ranks to become a sought-after technology expert at a global consultancy, through undertaking million-dollar research projects at esteemed universities to acting as CTO for a leading SME, it is clear that Marek’s success stems from passion, hard work, and a drive to learn. the company, and after four years, he ventured away from the company in order to lead a multi-billion IT transformation of one of its clients. Success came naturally to Marek; however, it was time for a change. ‘Although extremely successful and formative, I felt like I needed a break frombig business afterwards and decided to go back to academia to get back onto the frontlines of innovation and push boundaries of technical development’ he explains. Henceforth, Marek delved into creating a research team, with the goal to build an autonomous vehicle. The project quickly grew, transforming froma small research team to amultimillion-dollar lab. As such, the project was completed in record time, resulting in the first vehicle of its kind inMarek’s home country, Czechia. This success led him to Cambridge, where he delved into researching autonomous systems and artificial intelligence. It is safe to say that Marek’s education is impressive – he holds numerous degrees fromprestigious institutions, including anMPhil in Technology Policy at the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School; an Innovation Management Engineering Degree (Summa cum Laude) and a Software Engineering Degree (Dean’s Hons) from Czech Technical University in Prague; and anMBA from the Quantic School of Business and Technology inWashington D.C.. During his time at the University of Cambridge, Marek lent his expertise and skills to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) of the UK government, for whomhe acted as an External Consultant. His work with DCMS has had a lasting impact on the UK – the teamhe co-led created a report titled ‘Improving Online Safety Through PlatformDesign,’ which has been further utilised to improve safety fromonline dangers across the nation. Furthermore, his time at the university instilled a passion in Marek that compelled him to apply his skills on real products. Subsequently, he joined Vizgard – amulti-award-winning B2B Artificial Intelligence company that is on amission to create a safer future through cuttingedge computer vision solutions that enhance and automate unmanned and counterunmanned systems. Taking the position of Chief Technology Officer, Marek was responsible for the leadership of the company’s technical teams. Marek adds, ‘when working in a fast paced, growing startup like Vizgard, one gets to work with inspiring people on wonderful, thought-provoking challenges that define our time. We worked hard over last year to finalise and expand our product offering which allowed us to be incredibly successful at several international trade shows, where we greatly expanded our userbase and got several major contracts. With the expanding userbase we also had plenty of work on our backend, growing the company to fulfil new needs. Still, having achieved the Cyber Essentials certification, attaining three international awards by the European Space Agency and Airwards, plus nowmyself receiving this prize, wemust have done at least a decent job.’ Leaving this role in April 2022, Marek is now on a new journey. He is continuing his contributions to scientific projects at leading institutions, including the private research university, Stanford University. On top of this, he has acquired the position of Head of Engineering with a company named Uizard, where he has been tasked with getting their AI product up to the highest standards. ‘I also look forward to implementing the Uizard vision of democratising digital design for millions of people,’ Marek concludes, ‘and becoming an integral part of its story of becoming a European Unicorn.’ Contact: Marek Szeles Company: VIZGARD Web Address: vizgard.com AI Development CTO of the Year (UK): Marek Szeles