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CrowdStrike Co-Founder Dmitri Alperovitch Leaves To Launch Nonprofit

Alperovitch spearheaded the development of the CrowdStrike Falcon platform and its endpoint detection and response offering, and in recent years was referenced in conspiracy theories that falsely claim the company is Ukrainian.

CrowdStrike co-founder and technology visionary Dmitri Alperovitch has left the emerging endpoint security giant to launch a nonprofit focused on cybersecurity in a geopolitical context.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor tapped Alperovitch’s right-hand man Michael Sentonas to take over as chief technology officer effective immediately. Alperovitch has been with CrowdStrike since it began in September 2011, and designed the architecture for the CrowdStrike Falcon platform along with developing the company’s AI-based malware engine and endpoint detection and response offering.

“We are grateful for Dmitri’s commitment over the past eight years to help build CrowdStrike into the industry leader that we are today,” George Kurtz, CrowdStrike’s CEO and other co-founder, said in a statement. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

[Related: Trump Calls Out CrowdStrike In Record Of Call With Ukrainian President]

Alperovitch said on posts to his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts Wednesday afternoon that he left CrowdStrike to launch a non-partisan, nonprofit policy accelerator. The company’s stock is down $0.13 (0.2 percent) to $65.90 per share in after-hours trading.

“Since founding CrowdStrike and during my tenure, I helped transform the cybersecurity industry and want to apply the same ingenuity and a venture approach to galvanize solutions to pressing cybersecurity and national security and foreign policy challenges,” Alperovitch wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Alperovitch in the post also congratulated Sentonas on becoming CTO and said he’s confident Sentonas will do great things. Sentonas helped CrowdStrike develop its key priorities, technology roadmap and delivery objectives in his nearly four years as vice president of technology strategy, and also worked with Alperovitch for nearly three years at McAfee (then Intel Security) in technology leadership roles.

Alperovitch has in recent years become entangled in conspiracy theories that falsely claim that CrowdStrike is a Ukrainian company. These theories first came to light in April 2017 when President Donald Trump falsely told the Associated Press that CrowdStrike is “Ukrainian-based” and “owned by a very rich Ukrainian.”

CrowdStrike is headquartered in California, with institutional investors holding a nearly 61 percent stake in the company since it began being publicly traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange in June 2019.

The company was once again referenced in Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which was most notable for Trump urging Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden, who previously served on the board of an oil company.

"I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike…" Trump told Zelensky, according to a record of the call released in September 2019. "The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation."

Alperovitch is a Russian-born U.S. citizen who moved to America when he was a child. Part of the conspiracy theory alleges that Alperovitch is Ukrainian since he serves as a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which receives some funding from Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian billionaire who previously donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Alperovitch’s departure was a personal decision and not in any way related to the upcoming U.S presidential election, according to a CrowdStrike spokesperson. Alperovitch told CRN that his departure from CrowdStrike is connected to the opportunity referenced in his Twitter and LinkedIn posts.

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