Leadership Team

An Experienced Management Team

eSmart's team of specialists are among the most accomplished in the industry, with deep industry expertise and extensive international experience in establishing, growing, and operating global markets. The team’s common purpose is to create an environment of innovation and collaboration.

Knut H. H. Johansen

CEO

Knut H. H. Johansen

CEO

Knut holds a M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Norwegian University of Technology in Trondheim, Norway. Knut is the CEO and founder of eSmart Systems AS, established in 2012. Prior to that, Knut founded and led Navita Systems, headed OMX Technology Energy Systems (now NASDAQ), founded and led Hand-El Scandinavia, a spin-off from the Institute for Energy Technology in Halden, Norway, and headed the department for energy systems at the Institute for Energy Technology.

Knut has more than twenty years’ experience innovating, developing and delivering IT solutions to the energy industry world-wide.  He has delivered IT solutions to physical and financial power exchanges in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia beginning with the deregulation of the Norwegian power market in 1991, a precursor for deregulation processes worldwide. Knut has also delivered IT systems to the balancing, spot, and financial energy markets, as well as the clearing of exchange products and OTC to Nord Pool, the Nordic power exchange. He’s been responsible for ETRM and grid system deliveries to a large number of prominent energy companies, including E.ON, Statoil, Hydro, Statkraft, Fortum and Mercuria.

Knut was the initiating driver behind of the Norwegian Centre of Expertise – Smart Energy Markets. NCE Smart Energy Markets is supported by the Norwegian Authorities.

Knut E. Gustavsen

CVP International Markets

Knut E. Gustavsen

CVP International Markets

Knut holds a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science from Bristol University, England. Knut is the CVP International Markets and co-founder of eSmart Systems AS. He has more than 20 years of experience managing, developing and delivering IT solutions to the energy industry world-wide.

Knut started as a system developer of User Interface Management Systems for nuclear reactor control rooms, working closely with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Chattanooga, US. He has been lead project manager for many large software implementation projects around the world including an infrastructure delivery to the California Power Exchange, OMX’s settlement system delivery to the Korean Power Exchange together with ABB, Tieto’s CIS delivery to Fortum in Sweden and Tieto’s CIS delivery to Hafslund in Norway.

Knut co-founded US Hand-El Inc in Silicon Valley California, which was later relocated to Pasadena in Los Angeles. He was responsible for marketing, sales, and product strategies for all power exchange and ISO systems in the US, and was instrumental in building a 20 person support, service and development organization for the US market.

Knut was also responsible for Tieto’s utility business development sector and was an instrumental part of getting state funding for a 10-year Norwegian Centre of Expertise program (Smart Energy Markets). He was also an initiator and project owner of a state funded smart grid project that was one of the very first smart grid research projects in Norway.

 

Tina M. Skagen

Chief Operating Officer

Tina M. Skagen

Chief Operating Officer

Tina is Chief Operating Officer at eSmart Systems and holds a M.Sc. in Strategy and Management from Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. In 2008, she completed the Norwegian Entrepreneurship Program in Boston as a part of her master’s degree. In 2015, she participated in the program Innovation Management in a Global Business Perspective at the Norwegian Business School. Over the past years, Tina has held positions as Director of Business Development, Business Controller, and Project Manager at different Norwegian corporations.

 

Erik Åsberg

Chief Technology Officer

Erik Åsberg

Chief Technology Officer

Erik is CTO at eSmart Systems with 20 years’ experience in software development within the energy space, mainly using Microsoft and Oracle technologies. The last four years he has been focusing on architecture and design of Big Data technologies, all on the Microsoft Azure platform.

Erik Åsberg was appointed Microsoft Regional Director-Norway in 2019, for a second consecutive two-year period. This is a program that consists of 150 of the world's top technology visionaries chosen specifically for their proven cross-platform expertise, community leadership, and commitment to business results, and therefore nominated as trusted advisor to the developer and IT professional audiences and Microsoft.

Henrik Bache

Chief Commercial Officer

Henrik Bache

Chief Commercial Officer

Henrik is Chief Commercial Officer at eSmart Systems. Before taking on the role as CCO he spent 3 years abroad for eSmart, first in Singapore as MD for the APAC market, and then in Seattle as VP of Sales & Marketing North America. Prior to joining eSmart Systems he spent over a decade in the financial industry. In his most recent position within the financial industry he was responsible for the Norwegian market for one of the largest private equity investors in the Nordics, eQ Asset Management.

Davide Roverso

Chief Analytics Officer

Davide Roverso

Chief Analytics Officer

Davide holds a PhD in Computing Science from Aberdeen University (UK) and currently leads the analytics team at eSmart Systems. Davide has 25 years’ experience in the field of Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics, with applications in diagnostics, prognostics, condition monitoring, and early fault detection in complex processes, in sectors ranging from energy to medicine and environmental monitoring. He has authored over 90 publications in international journals, conference proceedings and edited books.

See Davide’s publications here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Davide_Roverso

Gro Kruse Kjølstad

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Gro Kruse Kjølstad

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Gro holds the position as Chief Financial Controller at eSmart Systems. Her background is in finance from Buskerud University College. She has more than 12 years’ experience from finance and management. Gro has spent the past years working on financial reporting, audits, tender and contract preparations, due diligence, incorporation of subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and US.

Tore Lie

Chief Product Officer

Tore Lie

Chief Product Officer

 

Tore is Chief Product Officer at eSmart Systems. He has 20 years of experience from Product, Project & Risk Management for a wide range of companies. Tore has also designed and lead the development of numerous IT-systems. Prior to joining eSmart and leading the Connected Drone program, he spent seven years with Metier, two years in CA and six years in IBM/ConCrea.

Steve Hambric

President North America

Steve Hambric

President North America

Steve is President North America at eSmart Systems. Steve holds a B.sc degree in Mechanical Engineering and a M.sc. degree in Management and Information Systems from University of Virginia (US), in addition to a MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau (FR).

He has more than 20 years of professional experience in various leadership functions within the energy and utility industry. Most recently as a VP responsible for Itron’s portfolio of Consumer Energy Management solutions, owning their strategy, growth and P&L. Prior to Itron's acquisition of Comverge, Steve was on the leadership team of Comverge and Instrumental In transforming their business. Prior to Itron Steve was at Opower leading up to their IPO and sale to Oracle. Steve has also consulted to energy and utility companies at Sapient and McKinsey & Company.

 

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors reflects eSmart Systems’ national and international ambitions. Board members have extensive and leading experience in energy and new, disruptive technologies.

Arndt Neuhaus

Senior Advisor, Former CEO (RWE Germany/RWE Retail)

Arndt Neuhaus

Senior Advisor, Former CEO (RWE Germany/RWE Retail)

Arndt studied Chemistry and Business Administration in Marburg, Bristol and Berkeley. After graduation to Ph.D. in Natural Sciences he worked for McKinsey & Company, Inc. in the basic materials sector and utilities, before he became head of Corporate Development/Strategy at RWE Group. He worked over 15 years in various management positions at RWE as member of the Group Business Committee, CFO of downstream divisions, CEO of the German downstream business (grids, retail) and CEO of the international retail division. After leaving RWE in 2016 he works as a senior advisor and investor in startups.

Joseph Sirosh

Chief Technology Officer at Compass

Joseph Sirosh

Chief Technology Officer at Compass

Joseph is the Chief Technology Officer for Compass, where he leads the development of the real estate industry’s first end-to-end platform. Until Dec 2018, Joseph served as Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer for AI. During his five years at Microsoft, he also held product and engineering responsibility for all enterprise database, big data and AI products, with 1,700+ engineers.

Prior to Microsoft, Joseph spent nine years as a VP of Technology at Amazon where among other things he managed the Global Inventory Platform for Amazon’s Consumer Business, and built the machine learning and Transaction Risk Management teams. Joseph holds a PhD and MS in Neural Networks from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelors from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Nils Ole Krekling

Group Vice President at Kongsberg

Nils Ole Krekling

Group Vice President at Kongsberg

Nils Ole Krekling is Group Vice President of Corporate Business Development at Kongsberg Gruppen ASA. He has held several positions in strategy, business development and finance since he joined Kongsberg in 2009, and has extensive industry experience in M&A and strategic partnering arrangements. Nils Ole holds a master’s degree in finance from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration and an executive program in strategy from INSEAD.

Erik Åsberg

CTO at eSmart Systems

Erik Åsberg

CTO at eSmart Systems

Erik is CTO at eSmart Systems with 20 years’ experience in software development within the energy space, mainly using Microsoft and Oracle technologies. The last four years he has been focusing on architecture and design of Big Data technologies, all on the Microsoft Azure platform.

Erik Åsberg was appointed Microsoft Regional Director-Norway in 2019, for a second consecutive two-year period. This is a program that consists of 150 of the world's top technology visionaries chosen specifically for their proven cross-platform expertise, community leadership, and commitment to business results, and therefore nominated as trusted advisor to the developer and IT professional audiences and Microsoft.

Eivind Egeland Olsen

Chief Investment Officer at Nysnø

Eivind Egeland Olsen

Chief Investment Officer at Nysnø

Eivind Egeland Olsen is Chief Investment Officer at Nysnø He previously held the position as head of corporate finance for SR-Bank Markets. Eivind has extensive financial and investment experience from his time as partner in ABG Sundal Collier, Jefferies & Company’s Cleantech team and The Royal Bank of Scotland in London. Eivind holds a Master of Science in Finance and Economics from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) and Warwick Business School (WBS).

Michael Donnelly

Partner and Chief Risk Officer at Energy Impact Partners

Michael Donnelly

Partner and Chief Risk Officer at Energy Impact Partners

Michael Donnelly is partner and Chief Risk Officer at Energy Impact Partners. Mr Donnelly spent a 25-year career at General Electric focused on energy in various management functions, most recently acting as Head of Business Development for GE Energy-Industrial Solutions. Before that, he led the Energy Technology Group for GE Equity, where he focused on investments in power and energy technology companies in storage, distribution and energy management.

Mr. Donnelly also served as a Risk Officer for the Equity Group where he ensured proper underwriting for a broad array of equity and debt investments. He also served as a Risk Officer at GE Global Sponsor Finance where he underwrote and managed a portfolio of over $1B. Mr. Donnelly holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy and an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia.

Thor Olav T. Egeland

Investment Manager at Equinor Ventures

Thor Olav T. Egeland

Investment Manager at Equinor Ventures

Thor is an Investment Manager at Equinor Ventures, and has 4+ years of venture investment experience in the energy transition sectors. Thor has invested in European and US based companies within power and flexibility, data analytics and AI, solar and wind technologies, and has various board engagements with Equinor Ventures’ portfolio.

 

Prior to joining Equinor Ventures Thor held several international investment and business development positions in Equinor from 2009 to 2016.

 

Thor holds an MSc in Finance and Economics from Warwick Business School and a BSc in Economics from the University of Bergen and the University of Cape Town.

Jan Palasinski

Investment Partner at Future Energy Ventures

Jan Palasinski

Investment Partner at Future Energy Ventures

Jan Palasinski is Investment Partner at Future Energy Ventures since its inception in 2020. He has more than 15 years’ experience in cleantech and finance.

Before joining Future Energy Ventures, Jan has been part of E.ON's venture capital team since 2017, after having spent the previous 4 years at Innogy Venture Capital, both in Germany.

In the first phase of his career, Jan used to be an investment banker, driving renewable energy growth in Italy with project financing instruments.

Jan holds a Master's Degree in Economics and Management of Public Utilities from Milan's Bocconi University and a B.A. in History and International Relations from Roma Tre University.

Currently Jan serves as board member/observer in Future Energy Ventures’ portfolio companies Cuculus, eSmart Systems, Kiwigrid, Lumenaza, Nuventura, tado° and Thermondo.