Dr. Nelson Mendonça Mattos


Independent consultant, member of the Grameen Foundation, former Vice President Engineering at Google (2007 to 2014)

DAAD Scholarship 1984–1989

Dr. Nelson Mendonça Mattos DAAD

“We don't want just good people, rather we want people with an enterprising spirit,” said Nelson Mattos in an interview with Neue Züricher Zeitung while he was Vice President Engineering at Google. “Our staff have to be technology leaders, but also need to be aggressive enough to be able to pursue their own ideas.” All employees were allowed to spend 20% of their working time on their own ideas.

Our staff also need to be aggressive enough to be able to pursue their own ideas.
Nelson Mendonça Mattos

Google is not only the world’s most popular search engine, but also one of the world's favourite employers, because of its special corporate culture. From 2007 to 2014 Nelson Mattos worked for Google in Zurich, where he was responsible for the company's entire R&D in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The IT specialist was responsible for some 800 engineers working in Google development centres in Germany, Britain, Ireland, Russia, Scandinavia, Israel, Poland and Switzerland. The Brazilian sought to identify and catalogue the products that Google users wanted in order to define the tasks of the development centres accordingly.

Born in 1959, Nelson Mattos gained his Master's degree at the University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. In 1984 he came to the University of Kaiserslautern on a DAAD Scholarship. He gained his doctorate in information science there in 1989 and then did research, initially as an associate professor, on knowledge base management systems. He published more than 80 works on database management and related topics. He holds 13 patents and is the author of the book An Approach to Knowledge Base Management.

In 1991 Nelson Mattos moved to IBM in the United States as a visiting scientist, where he experienced a meteoric rise up the career ladder over the next 15 years. Among other things, he was IBM Distinguished Engineer and Vice President of Information and User Technologies with IBM Research. He was in charge of research groups that worked worldwide on search technologies, structured and unstructured information processing and business collaboration tools. He designed a portfolio of products for IBM that earned the company several hundred million dollars.

Today, Nelson Mattos lives in San Jose, California, where he works as an independent consultant. In addition, he is an active member of the Grameen Foundation, where he supports the world’s poorest to realise their potential by providing funding and information on the subjects of health and agriculture.