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Ulbrich runs an IT department that employs 1,000 people (Photo: Audi)

A European CIO network has chosen Audi's IT chief, Mattias Ulbrich, as "European chief information officer of the year."

CIONET, a group that brings together more than 5,100 IT executives from 18 countries, cited Ulbrich's succcess in working with Audi's various business departments and his push to introduce digital technologies at the premium car brand.

"What most impressed us was how successfully Mattias Ulbrich and his team have cooperated with all departments to convert the groundbreaking potential of digital technologies into a competitive advantage,” said Nils Fonstad, jury member and an information systems researcher at MIT's Sloan Center.

The annual recognition is especially focused on the contribution CIOs and their IT departments make to their companies' competitiveness.

Ulbrich, 48, said in his acceptance speech that "intelligent" IT solutions have improved production, logistics and quality insurance at Audi, while reducing costs.

Audi’s 1,000 strong IT department supports more than 1,500 departments worldwide. It also serves Audi subsidiaries Lamborghini and Ducati as well as worldwide sales companies. Audi is part of Germany's Volkswagen Group.