The Software Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 Cybersecurity CEOs of 2021. These accomplished executives lead some of the most sophisticated operations that protect businesses and individuals across the globe. Hundreds of exceptional CEOs were nominated in this year’s process representing cybersecurity companies ranging from startups to rapidly growing companies to conglomerates. The one thing, however, that they had in common was the deep respect, and in some cases, admiration they garnered from colleagues in the industry.
We evaluated each nominee based on a series of questions on the candidate's leadership and professional capabilities. The Software Report also conducted candidate evaluation based on company competitiveness within the broader cybersecurity industry and how the individual compared to the highest performing CEOs in their category. We looked for demonstrated cybersecurity expertise, longevity in the industry, career progression, and professional integrity, among other factors.
It gives us great pleasure to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of these deserving CEOs in the demanding field of cybersecurity.
1. John Chen
John Chen is the Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry Limited. Joining the company in 2013, Chen led BlackBerry through a successful pivot from hardware icon to software leader. Today, the company is poised to leverage its brand strength and heritage in mobile along with its enterprise cybersecurity and embedded software growth engines to accelerate into the Enterprise of Things, an emerging category with billions of connected devices and massive market potential.
Prior to joining Blackberry, Chen was Chairman, President and CEO of Sybase for 14 years. He graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a master's in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Chen has an honorary professorship from Shanghai University, and honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, City University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
2. Hock Tan
Hock Tan is Broadcom’s President, Chief Executive Officer and Director. In 2019, Broadcom acquired Symantec for $10.7 billion. Symantec has been a leader in cybersecurity for more than 10 years in all primary security categories.
Tan was previously President at Avago, now Broadcom. From September 2005 to January 2008, he served as Chairman of the Board of Integrated Device Technology. Prior to that position, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of IntegratedCircuit Systems. And before that, was Vice President of Finance with Commodore International and held senior management positions with PepsiCo and General Motors.
3. Gil Shwed
Check Point Software
Gil Shwed is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Check Point Software Technologies. He is considered the inventor of the modern firewall and authored several patents, such as the company’s Stateful Inspection technology. Check Point Software Technologies delivers cyber security across networks, cloud, and mobile environments.
Shwed has received numerous accolades for his individual achievements and industry contributions, including an honorary Doctor of Science from the Technion– Israel Institute of Technology, an honorary Doctor of Science from Tel Aviv University, the World Economic Forum’s Global Leader for Tomorrow for his commitment to public affairs and leadership in areas beyond immediate professional interests, and the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award for his innovative contribution to business and technology.
4. Pam Murphy
Pam Murphy is the Chief Executive Officer of Imperva, which she joined in 2020. Imperva protects data and all paths to it with market-leading application and data security products. The company currently protect the data of over 6,000 global customers from cyber attacks through all stages of digital transformation.
Before joining Imperva, Murphy was COO at Infor, the world’s third-largest enterprise software company, providing software and technology solutions for specific industries and micro-verticals. Prior to Infor, Murphy held multiple leadership positions at Oracle, Andersen Consulting and Arthur Andersen. She earned her Business and Accounting degree from the University of Cork, Ireland, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
5. Rick Farnell
Rick Farnell is the President and CEO of Protegrity, bringing a successful track record as an entrepreneur, executive, and operator of multiple global technology companies. At the helm of Protegrity, Rick is spearheading the company’s efforts to scale its industry-leading data-security solutions into the future as companies rapidly invest in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence innovation. Rick joined as CEO and President in October of 2019 and led a global transformation of the Protegrity business. In 2020, Protegrity achieved significant customer growth, signing 300 percent more new customers than in 2019. Total year-over-year revenue increased by 23 percent in 2020, with annual recurring revenue for first-time customers increasing by 398 percent.
Previously, Rick founded Rapid Formation, which helps incubate, fund, and scale technology startups in the AI market. Rick was also the co-founder and president of Think Big Analytics, a big data analytics pioneer, which was acquired by Teradata Corporation. Prior to co-founding Think Big Analytics, Rick spent over 20 years in a variety of executive management positions in sales, business development, alliances, and consulting for companies such as C-Bridge Internet Solutions and Sun Microsystems. Rick received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University.
6. Bill Holtz
Bill Holtz is the Chief Executive Officer of Sectigo, bringing more than 25 years of executive experience leading high-growth global organizations. Under his leadership since 2017, Sectigo executed five successful strategic acquisitions, rebranded the company, introduced numerous new products, achieved double-digit growth each year, and transformed the external perception of the organization from having 1-star reviews into a top-reviewed and trusted brand.
Previously, Holtz was the COO at Entrust, a digital security and credential issuance solutions provider, where he dramatically increased company valuation resulting in seven times return on investments in 4 years. He also served as CIO at Philadelphia Insurance Companies. Before that, he was the CIO at Expedia, where he consolidated and transformed autonomous global IT organizations into a single enterprise operation. Earlier in his career, Holtz was the Senior VP of Information Technology at Cigna and served in two vice president roles at Nortel Networks.
7. Pieter Danhieux
Secure Code Warrior
Pieter Danhieux is the CEO of Secure Code Warrior, a global security company that improves the software development process making it more secure. The company makes secure coding a positive and engaging experience for developers and guides each coder along their own preferred learning pathway helping them become experts of the connected world.
Prior to Secure Code Warrior, Danhieux was a Principal Instructor with SANS Institute. He obtained the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification as one of the youngest persons ever in Belgium. He then obtained the Certified Information Systems Auditor, the GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst program, and is currently one of a select few people worldwide to hold the GIAC Security Expert certification. Danhieux has a bachelor’s in applied computer science from the Hogeschool Gent.
8. Guy Bejerano
Guy Bejerano is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of SafeBreach, the market leader in breach and attack simulation. SafeBreach’s platform simulates hacker breach methods across the entire kill chain to identify breach scenarios in environments before an attacker does. Bejerano expanded the SafeBreach workforce by 50% over the past year and sales revenue doubled with new global customers in finance, healthcare, consumer goods, and manufacturing.
He also launched strategic partnerships with Microsoft, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk, Deloitte and others. Bejerano has 15 years of CISO, CSO, and CEO experience with organizations such as Ness Technologies and LivePerson. Earlier in his career, he led red team operations in the Israeli Air Force. Bejerano has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Academic College of Tel Aviv.
9. Poppy Gustafsson
Poppy Gustafsson is the Chief Executive Officer of Darktrace, a world leader in self-learning AI. The mathematicians at Darktrace have created the first, at-scale deployment of artificial intelligence for the enterprise that detect and neutralize cyber threats across diverse digital estates. Under her leadership, the company has experienced significant growth and global expansion, with 5,000 customers and 1,500 employees worldwide.
Before her current role with Darktrace, Gustafsson was a Corporate Controller at HP Autonomy and a Fund Accountant at Amadeus Capital Partners prior to joining Darktrace as CFO and later COO. She is a Qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a bachelor’s in Mathematics from the University of Sheffield.
10. Prakash Panjwani
Prakash Panjwani is WatchGuard’s Chief Executive Officer and a member of its Board of Directors. He joined the company in 2015. WatchGuard is a global leader in network security, secure Wi-Fi, and network intelligence products and services for SMBs and distributed enterprises worldwide. The company’s mission is to make enterprise-grade security accessible for companies of any type and size through simplicity.
Prior to joining WatchGuard, Panjwani was CEO at SafeNet, one of the largest information security companies in the world. Panjwani holds a masters degree in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University.
11. Wael Mohamed
Wael Mohamed is the Chief Executive Officer at Forescout Technologies, which he joined this year. The company actively defends the Enterprise of Things by identifying, segmenting, and enforcing compliance of every connected device. Fortune 1000 companies trust Forescout as it provides a widely deployed enterprise-class platform at scale across IT, IoT and OT managed and unmanaged devices.
Prior to bringing his expertise to Forescout, Mohamed was the President of Trend Micro and Co-Founder, President and CEO of Third Brigade. Mohamed completed programs with Harvard University and Queen's University and graduated from Dalhousie University with a bachelors in Computer Science.
12. Jim Zuffoletti
Jim Zuffoletti is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at SafeGuard Cyber. He is regarded as a visionary leader in risk management, security, and compliance technology. SafeGuard Cyber provides end-to-end digital risk protection built on leading-edge technology and grounded in simplicity. Its platform is a single solution to detect, prevent and defend against threats in all digital worlds.
Zuffoletti previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and was a Co-Founder of OpenQ; he also co-founded FreeMarkets, which is now part of Ariba, a business unit of SAP. Zuffoletti holds an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business where he was a Genovese fellow, and possesses a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Fine Arts from Amherst College.
13. Carey O’Connor Kolaja
Carey O’Connor Kolaja is the Chief Executive Officer of AU10TIX, which she first joined in 2019 as President and COO. AU10TIX provides critical, modular solutions to link physical and digital identities so that companies and their customers can confidently connect. Kolaja is responsible for establishing and driving the overall business strategy and day-to-day operations, leading a team charged with enabling companies to onboard faster, prevent fraud, meet compliance mandates, and establish trust with their customers.
Prior to AU10TIX, Kolaja was the Global Chief Product Officer at Citi Fintech and Vice President of Global Consumer Products at PayPal. She has been active in several boards including All In Together, Waves For Water, and Neology Inc. Kolaja has a bachelor’s degree in Business from Indiana University and participated in the Stanford University Executive Program.
14. Danny Jenkins
Danny Jenkins is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of ThreatLocker, an Orlando-based cybersecurity firm providing zero-trust endpoint security. Danny is a leading expert in cybersecurity with over two decades of experience in building and securing corporate networks, including many roles on red teams and blue teams. He is dedicated to educating industry professionals about the latest cyber threats and frequently speaks on the topics of ransomware, zero trust, and zero-day vulnerabilities.
Before taking the reins at ThreatLocker, Danny co-founded MXSweep, a global provider of email and internet security SaaS applications based in Dublin, Ireland, that sold exclusively through the channel. MXSweep later went on to be sold to J2. Danny was also the CEO at Sirrustec, specializing in whitelabeled channel delivered email security. Sirrustec Sold to Censornet in 2014.
15. Rohyt Belani
Rohyt Belani is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Cofense, which he first joined in early 2018. Cofense is the leading provider of phishing detection and response solutions. At Cofense, Belani has led the company’s growth from concept to over 400 employees globally, serving over 2000 enterprise customers including half of the Fortune 100.
Before joining the company, Belani was a Managing Director at Mandiant and moved on to Co-Founder and CEO at Intrepidus Group. He also spent several years as an Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Belani holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Bombay University and a Master of Science in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University.
16. George Kurtz
George Kurtz is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of CrowdStrike, a leading provider of next-generation endpoint protection, threat intelligence, and services. Kurtz is an internationally recognized security expert, author, entrepreneur, and speaker. He has more than 28 years of experience in the security space, including extensive experience driving revenue growth and scaling organizations across the globe.
Prior to his role with Crowdstrike, Kurtz was with McAfee serving as Worldwide Chief Technology Officer and GM. Before McAfee, Kurtz started Foundstone in October 1999 as the Founder and CEO. Foundstone, a worldwide security products and services company was acquired by McAfee in October of 2004. Kurtz authored the best-selling security book of all time, Hacking Exposed: Network Security Secrets & Solutions. He received a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Seton Hall University.
17. Mirza Asrar Baig
Mirza Asrar Baig is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CTM360, a global Digital Risk Protection Platform. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Baig developed a passion for computer technology early on in his life. He obtained a Computer Science degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM, Saudi Arabia) and has since then committed to developing technology from the Arab World.
In 2014, Baig crystallized the concept of CTM360 with a comprehensive Digital Risk Protection stack. The company has grown into a highly dependable and value-driven cybersecurity company and remains a trusted partner to 150+ banking & financial institutions. Aspiring to ‘Build Locally, Scale Globally’, Baig has 3 other successful ventures under his leadership (i) EDX Labs, a technology R&D hub for SaaS start-ups; (ii) DMARC360, an email authentication provider; (iii) PENTEST360, a platform to manage penetration testing continuously instead of a point in time.
18. Shai Morag
Shai Morag is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Ermetic, a global leader in cloud security that helps customers prevent breaches by reducing the attack surface of their cloud infrastructure and enforcing least privilege at scale in the most complex environments. Customers in financial services, healthcare, technology, manufacturing and more across North America and EMEA are using Ermetic to mitigate cloud risk. The company has experienced triple digit growth year over year. Since its launch one year ago, Ermetic has been selected Best Cloud Security Product of 2020 by Computing Security Excellence Awards and was named one of the 10 Hottest Cloud Computing Startups of 2020 by CRN.
Prior to founding Ermetic, Morag served as the co-founder and CEO of Secdo, a cyber security company, where he led the company from its inception to a successful acquisition by Palo Alto Networks for $100 million in only three years. Before Secdo, he served as the CEO of Integrity-Project, a company specialized in connectivity, networking and security solutions. Morag led them to significant growth and an acquisition by Mellanox (NSDQ:MLNX). Morag also served for 10 years as an officer in the IDF Intelligence Corps Unit 8200, where he held a variety of roles in management and product development and won several national awards for excellence. He is a graduate of the Talpiot program and earned an MBA from Tel Aviv University.
19. Sanjay Beri
Sanjay Beri is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Netskope, first starting the company in 2012. Netskope safely and quickly connects users directly to the internet, any application and its infrastructure from any device, on or off of the network. Its security cloud provides the most granular context, via a patented technology, to enable conditional access and user awareness while enforcing zero trust principles.
Beri brings nearly two decades of innovation, experience, and success in networking and security technology, and a unique business sense. Before founding Netskope, Beri was a VP and General Manager at Juniper Networks. He has also held leadership positions at Ingrian Networks, McAfee and numerous other companies. Beri earned his MBA from UC Berkeley, a master in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
20. Tomer Weingarten
Tomer Weingarten is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of SentinelOne, first joining the company in 2013. He is responsible for the company’s direction, products, and services strategy. SentinelOne is a pioneer in delivering autonomous security for the endpoint, datacenter and cloud environments to help organizations secure their assets with speed and simplicity.
Before SentinelOne, Weingarten led Product Development and Strategy for the Toluna Group as a Vice President of Products. Prior to that, he held several application security and consulting roles at various enterprises, and was CTO at Carambola Media.
21. Erkang Zheng
Erkang Zheng developed JupiterOne as a CISO who was trying to secure the enterprise he was working at. He needed a cloud native, cyber asset governance solution and found that a singular platform didn’t exist which fulfilled these requirements. Although there were multiple solutions on the market, none of them offered enough visibility to answer if the enterprise was both secure and compliant on their own. Instead, the market seemed resigned to a piecemeal approach riddled with complexity. Seeing an opportunity, the idea for the JupiterOne platform came into being and was designed from the ground up to be a platform that you can build and execute your entire security program on.
Zheng is an engineer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. He was formerly a CISO, security leader at IBM and Fidelity Investments and currently holds several patents, with two decades of experience in all security domains, from identity and access, penetration testing and incident response to data, application, and cloud security. Zheng envisions a world where decisions are made on facts, not fear; teams are fulfilled, not frustrated; breaches are improbable, not inevitable; and security is a basic right.
22. Josh Lospinoso
Josh Lospinoso is the Chief Executive Officer of Shift5, which he joined in 2019. Shift5 is a transportation data company whose customers run smarter, safer, and more efficiently by unlocking their fleet’s data. Their data-driven solutions integrate directly onto existing platforms, collecting and enriching data from all of their electronic components.
Prior to joining Shift5, Lospinoso was the CTO of RedOwl Analytics and served in the U.S. Army as captain for 10 years. He remains a Venture Partner of First In. Lospinoso has a doctorate in Philosophy and Statistics from the University of Oxford and a bachelor's degree in Economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
23. Raffaele Mautone
Raffaele Mautone is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AaDya Security, which he started in 2019. AaDya is a smart, simple, effective and affordable all-in-one cybersecurity protection for small and mid-size businesses. Its cloud-based platform provides cyber security 24/7 protecting from the most common cyber threats by leveraging a powerful set of features.
Mautone has a consistent record of leading teams through successful acquisitions, strategic planning and implementation and deploying large, multi-tiered complex programs at companies such as Duo, FireEye, McAfee and Dell. Mautone has a bachelor's degree in Business Communications from Eastern Michigan University.
24. Jeff Shiner
Jeff Shiner is the Chief Executive Officer of 1Password, which he joined 9 years ago. 1Password is the world’s most-loved password manager. It helps protect data by giving complete control over passwords and other sensitive business information leading to user confidence and ease of use.
Prior to joining 1Password, Shiner was the Senior Development Manager of WebSphere Commerce at IBM Canada for eight years. He was also a Partner and Technology Business Leader with Rosetta, his most recent role prior to 1Password. Shiner earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.
25. Dimitri Shelest
Dimitri Shelest is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OneRep, a web service focused on consumer privacy. OneRep leverages Shelest’s technical savvy and passion for leveling the playing field for consumers in their fight against data broker sites, which expose people’s sensitive information and sell it for profit. Under his leadership, the team was able to automate the cumbersome and previously manual public records removal process from start to finish, making OneRep the industry’s only fully automated solution capable of covering the broadest number of sites.
In early adulthood, Shelest was a nationally awarded professional martial artist, having studied Karate for 13 years. He parlays the strength, discipline and soul fostered by the sport into running OneRep. As CEO, Shelest focuses on optimizing the consumer experience on the platform and supporting the B2B arm of company operations that extends OneRep services to privacy-focused enterprises. He is able to accomplish industry firsts by fostering a collaborative culture where creativity is valued and rewarded.