Webroot Hires Gerhard Eschelbeck In Exec Shuffle

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Antispyware vendor Webroot Software has shuffled some of its senior staff this week, naming two new C-level executives and changing the duties of a third.

The company has named Gerhard Eschelbeck as its chief technology officer and senior vice president of engineering and appointed Joshua Pace as its CFO. With the latter move, Michael Irwin, who has been Webroot's CFO since September 2004, now becomes COO.

Pace comes to Webroot from Openwave Systems, where he was senior vice president and CFO. In addition, he has served as CFO of M2 Networx and was the vice president of financial planning and analysis for Covad Communications. He also has worked at US West Communications and Deloitte and Touche. Pace earned his B.S. degree in accounting from the University of North Carolina and his MBA in international finance from the University of Colorado.

In moving from CFO to COO, Irwin will be responsible for overseeing all internal operations of Webroot, in addition to strategically driving forward the overall business and company objectives.

"I came onboard with the vision of being the full-time CFO and just started to grow into other parts of the business," Irwin says. "The transition started to occur more naturally about nine months ago, and I started to become a good complement to (CEO) Dave Moll."

Prior to joining Webroot, Irwin served as CFO of Brightmail, which ultimately was acquired by Symantec. Prior to Brightmail, Irwin served as vice president of B2SB Technologies, and he also spent nearly eight years in the management consulting and M&A groups at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Irwin earned a B.S. degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

This week, Webroot also announced a new Advanced Technology Development Center in Silicon Valley that will focus on developing antimalware security solutions and services. The new division will work with Webroot's R&D center in Boulder, Colo., and will staff about 20 new people in the near term.

"All our competitors run multisite locations because they need to be in a position to hire development talent where that talent resides," Irwin says. "As we look to be much more competitive and expand our product line, we need to be in a position to expand our talent pool, and Silicon Valley clearly is the deepest talent pool in the world."

Eschelbeck will oversee both facilities and will be responsible for developing and driving the company's product strategy. Chief among the strategic objectives will be to further expand the capabilities of Webroot's Phileas automated spyware research system.

Eschelbeck most recently served as CTO & vice president of engineering of on-demand vulnerability management vendor Qualys, and he also has held executive positions at Network Associates and McAfee Associates, which he joined after IDS GmbH, a secure remote-control company he founded, was acquired by McAfee. He holds Masters and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Linz, Austria.

Irwin says hiring Eschelbeck is quite a coup for the company.

"Gerhard has a very deep security pedigree; he's been successful at large companies and at small companies competing against large companies, and he's been successful with products both domestically and internationally," Irwin says. "When you get down to it, there's probably four or five of those guys in the world, so we were obviously talking to all of them. And all those guys already have jobs, so it took awhile to make sure he truly understood the opportunity here for himself and the company."

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