Leadership and Governance
It's all about leadership in a world where anticipating the next shift points is critical. These are the people who keep mobility moving.
Cerence Management Team
As Chief Product Officer, Nils Schanz leads Cerence’s core mobility products, leading its digital cabin strategy, product portfolio, and customer delivery across the company’s global operations. A respected and accomplished automotive and AI technology leader, Nils joined Cerence from Mercedes-Benz AG and Daimler, where he developed the highly regarded MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), the automaker’s intuitive, high-tech multimedia system, and launched other widely acclaimed innovations such as the award-winning MBUX Hyperscreen and the Voice Assistant “Hey Mercedes.” He most recently served as Global Head of User Interaction & Voice Control, leading a cross-functional team with global responsibility for digital user interface and user experience. Prior to his most recent role, Nils held a variety of positions at Daimler and Mercedes-Benz in R&D, Product Management, and Marketing. In addition to his Germany-based roles, he also spent time in Silicon Valley as Director of IoT & Wearables at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America.
As Chief Revenue Officer, Bob Ligon is responsible for our worldwide sales, sales engineering, and marketing organizations, leading our go-to-market strategy and driving pipeline growth. An accomplished and tenured automotive technology sales executive, Bob joined Cerence following a more than 10-year tenure at ZF Group, where he most recently served as Senior Vice President of Sales. Prior to joining ZF Group, Mr. Ligon spent nearly 20 years at Continental in progressing sales and leadership positions. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree from Walsh College, and he completed the University of Michigan’s Executive Leadership Program. Mr. Ligon is also a member of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA)’s Sales & Marketing Council and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
Dr. Ir. Christophe Couvreur serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cerence’s core products, responsible for product management and working in lockstep with our R&D and professional services teams worldwide. Prior to his product leadership roles at Cerence, Christophe served in a variety of senior positions at Nuance Communications in research, engineering, project/program management and general management, all focused on bringing innovative speech and AI products to market in the Automotive, Mobile and Gaming areas. Before Nuance, Christophe worked at Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research. He also served as a Lieutenant in the Belgian Air Force. Christophe holds a PhD in Applied Science from Faculté Polytechnique de Mons (Belgium), MSc's in engineering from UIUC and in mathematics from UCL, and an MBA from Vlerick Business School.
Cerence Board of Directors
Marianne Budnik is an accomplished technology industry leader with extensive marketing and cybersecurity expertise. Ms. Budnik has served as Chief Marketing Officer for Talon Cyber Security since March 2022. Previously, Ms. Budnik served as Chief Marketing Officer for CrowdStrike from December 2020 through March 2022, where she also oversaw the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. From May 2017 through December 2020, Ms. Budnik served as Chief Marketing Officer for CyberArk, a leader in Privileged Access Management and Identity Security solutions. Her previous experience includes leadership roles with SimpliVity, Acme Packet, CA Technologies, and EMC Corporation. Ms. Budnik earned an M.B.A. from Boston University and holds a bachelor’s degree from Babson College. She also serves on the Board of publicly traded F5, and as a member of F5's audit and risk oversight committee.