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10 most influential figures of the cybersecurity world

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa)

If you work in the cybersecurity industry or are interested in getting into the field, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends, developments and advancements. One of the best ways to stay updated with the most recent industry changes is to follow the top giants in the security industry.

The cybersecurity industry is a quickly expanding market, growing in response to the increasing number of cyber crimes. According to the most recent report of Cybersecurity Ventures, its spending is expected to reach $1 trillion over the next 5 years.

This expected spending has raised the demand for security vendors, opening the door for new start-up companies and growth for reputable firms. Below, I’ve summed up a list of 10 Chief Executive Officers in Security industry. 

1. Eugene Kaspersky

Eugene Kaspersky is the CEO of Kaspersky Lab which is the world’s largest privately-held vendor of endpoint protection, operating in almost 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company employs around 3,300 professionals and IT security specialists in dedicated regional offices across 32 countries, and its cybersecurity technologies protect over 400 million users worldwide.

Eugene has earned many international awards for his technological, scientific and entrepreneurial achievements. He was voted the World’s Most Powerful Security Exec by SYS-CON Media in 2011, awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Plymouth University in 2012, and named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2012 Top Global Thinkers for his contribution to IT security awareness on a global scale.

2. Kris Hagerman

Kris Hagerman is the CEO of Sophos. He is responsible for all aspects of Sophos’ strategic direction and business operations. Before Sophos, Kris was the chief executive officer of Corel Corporation. Previously, Kris served as group president, data centre management at Symantec, where he led a business of more than $1.5 billion that represented nearly 30 per cent of Symantec’s global revenue.

Earlier in his career, Kris was founder and CEO of BigBook, an online yellow pages service and founder and CEO of Affinia, an online contextual advertising network. Kris also held positions at Silicon Graphics and McKinsey & Company.

Kris has a bachelor’s degree in Russian and economics from Dartmouth College, an M.Phil. in international relations from Cambridge University, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

3. Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty is the president and CEO of IBM, and the first woman to head the company. Before becoming president and CEO in January 2012, she held the positions of senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing, and strategy at IBM. She joined IBM as a systems engineer in its Detroit office in 1981. Rometty's tenure as CEO has been marked by prestigious awards including by Bloomberg who named her among the 50 Most Influential People in the World, and Fortune was naming her among the "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" for ten consecutive years. Her tenure as CEO has been met by criticism related to executive compensation and outsourcing, and IBM's 21 consecutive quarters of revenue decline.

She holds a degree of Bachelor in Science, with high honours, in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

4. Chuck Robbins

Chuck Robbins is the CEO of Cisco and a member of its Board of Directors. Chuck has more than 20 years of leadership experience and over 19 years at Cisco. He began his career as an application developer and worked as an app developer for North Carolina National Bank, (now part of Bank of America). Robbins next worked for Wellfleet Communications, which merged with SynOptics to become Bay Networks, followed by a short spell at Ascend Communications before joining Cisco in 1997.

On 4 May 2015, Cisco announced that the CEO and chairman John Chambers would step down as CEO on 26 July 2015 but remain chairman. Chuck Robbins, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales & Operations and a 17-year Cisco veteran, would become CEO. On 26th July 2015, Robbins was appointed CEO of Cisco Systems.

5. Uzair Gadit

PureVPN is the brainchild of Uzair Gadit, who specializes in network and information security. As of now, he steers the information security wing of all the ventures under Disrupt. He employs his hardcore IT expertise to plug any vulnerabilities in the systems developed by Disrupt. Ever vigilant in his approach, he ensures all pre-emptive measures are in place to guarantee complete security of users’ data. Time and again, he has proven himself to be ahead of the curve and has lead from the front.

Advanced features such as Antivirus/Anti-malware, IDS & IPS, Web Filter, App Blocker, etc. are the direct outcomes of the forward-looking and innovative thinking of Uzair Gadit. As of now, no other VPN provider has the same arsenal of features like PureVPN, which is another feather in Gadit’s cap.

As the CEO of PureVPN, Uzair overlooks marketing, product development, user experience, finances, security, etc. His end-to-end approach ensures the highest quality output by his team in every task undertaken by them.

6. Tom Kennedy

Tom Kennedy is the head of Raytheon, a global aerospace, and defence company. Having 40 years of experience, served in many roles, each with different responsibilities but all with the same goal: protecting the United States and its allies.

Kennedy became chairman and CEO of Raytheon in 2014, and today leads a team of 63,000 employees serving customers in the defence, civil government, and cybersecurity markets around the world. In 2016, Raytheon had sales of $24 billion. In 2015, began serving as chairman of Forcepoint – a Raytheon joint venture providing defence-grade cybersecurity solutions for the commercial market.

He holds a doctorate in engineering from UCLA, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University.

During the time as CEO, Raytheon has committed millions of dollars toward educational programs and opportunities for service members and their families, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

7. Udi Mokady

Udi Mokady is the Chairman and CEO of CyberArk and a pioneer in establishing the Privileged Account Security software market. Since co-founding the company in 1999, Mokady has entrenched CyberArk as the market leader in privileged account security. During his tenure at CyberArk, Mokady has also served as CyberArk’s chief strategist and visionary, overseeing global expansion, management, execution and corporate development.

Mokady was named the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Technology Security category in New England. He holds a law degree (L.L.B.) from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a master of science management degree (MSM) from Boston University.

8. Marillyn Hewson

Marillyn Hewson is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In her over 30 years with Lockheed Martin, she has held a variety of increasingly responsible executive positions with the Corporation, including President and Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin's Electronic Systems business area.

For the past seven years, Fortune magazine has identified Ms. Hewson as one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Business," naming her No. 3 in 2016.

Ms. Hewson was born in Junction City, Kansas. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and her Master of Arts degree in economics from The University of Alabama. She also attended the Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School executive development programs.

9. Corey Thomas

Corey Thomas is the president, CEO, and a member of the Rapid7 board of directors. In 2016, he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Board of Advisors, and in 2017 Corey was elected to the board of directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, serving on its audit and health care quality and affordability committees. Corey has more than 15 years of experience in leading companies to the next stage of growth and innovation.

Corey received a B.E. in electrical engineering and computer science from Vanderbilt University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

10. Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the CEO, Co-founder, a Board Member & the visionary behind Mimecast, which he launched in 2003, with CTO and fellow Co-founder, Neil Murray.

Peter was born and raised in South Africa, trained as a Microsoft systems engineer, and began working with corporate messaging systems in the mid 90’s. He moved to the UK where Mimecast was founded, and then moved once more, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts in 2011, in order to lead Mimecast’s aggressive push into North America.

Since that time, Mimecast has been one of the strongest performers in its market segment in terms of customer acquisition and top line growth, making Peter one of only a handful of CEO’s to have led a pure SaaS company for over 10 years while acquiring well over 10,000 customers worldwide.

Anas Baig, Cyber Security Journalist & Tech Reporter
Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa

Anas Baig
Anas Baig is a Cyber Security Journalist by profession with a profound interest in online privacy & security & IoT.