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Kaspersky Channel Chief Jumps Ship To Cyware

Matthew Courchesne’s departure is only the latest blow for Kaspersky amid concerns about its possible ties to the Russian government.

The head of Kaspersky’s channel operations in North America has bolted the embattled cybersecurity company for another job.

Matthew Courchesne, who has led Kaspersky’s North American B2B channel team since early 2019, recently posted on his Linked In page that he was “happy to announce” that he was joining cybersecurity firm Cyware, also as channel chief for North America.

Courchesne’s Linked In main page also lists New York-based Cyware as his current employer, as of this month, and Kaspersky as his former employer, also as of this month. Courchesne and a spokesperson for Cyware couldn’t be reached for comment.

But Moscow-based Kaspersky, whose North American headquarters are located in Woburn, Mass., confirmed in a statement to CRN that Courchesne has left the software-security company.

“Matt Courchesne has been instrumental in growing Kaspersky’s enterprise business as well as the company’s channel accomplishments over the last four years, and we wish him well in his next endeavor,” Rob Cataldo, managing director for Kaspersky North America, said in the statement.

Cataldo said Kaspersky has already moved to fill Courchesne’s post. “The company will rely on Randy Richard and Lisa Kilpatrick, co-heads of enterprise sales for Kaspersky North America, and its strong roster of North American executives to continue leading the channel business,” he said.

Courchesne’s departure is only the latest blow for Kaspersky, which has been battling rumors and federal agencies for years over its possible ties to the Kremlin, which Kaspersky has vehemently denied.

Bob Venero, CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-headquartered solution provider Future Tech Enterprise, said he is not surprised Courchesne is leaving the company.

“I think you are going to see an exodus of people and partners leaving Kaspersky,” said Venero. “They have a lot of business in the US that is potentially going to be impacted by the Russia invasion of Ukraine.”

With the Russia invasion of Ukraine impacting business, it is “exponentially tougher” to be a Kaspersky partner or employee in the US, said Venero. “The Russia invasion of Ukraine has raised the red flag on using Kaspersky software,” he said.

Indeed, the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year added Kaspersky to its national security threat list, soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the National Security Council is reportedly pressing hard for severe sanctions against Kaspersky.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the Biden administration has ramped up a national security probe into Kaspersky’s antivirus software amid fears of Russian-backed cyberattacks.

Bloomberg News, meanwhile, reports the NSA is “investigating the extent” that software made by Kaspersky is “embedded in US businesses and organizations.”

“I am still very worried about US companies that are using Kaspersky,” Rob Joyce, the NSA’s director of cybersecurity, said in an interview, Bloomberg reports.

Asked about recent reports that federal officials are stepping up their investigation of Kaspersky and its products, the company issued a defiant statement to CRN.

“Kaspersky is always open to, and still sincerely hopes for the opportunity for, dialogue with U.S. Government stakeholders to address any concerns regarding Kaspersky products and services, and continues to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products and services through its Global Transparency Initiative.”

The company added: “Unfortunately, the U.S. Government’s lack of response to Kaspersky’s good faith outreach, while proceeding to take actions to further limit Kaspersky, clearly indicates that such regulatory restrictions are political decisions based on speculation rather than facts.

“As there has been no public evidence or due process to otherwise justify any actions against the company since 2017, Kaspersky believes any expansion of prohibitions or limitations are a response to the geopolitical climate rather than a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services.”

-- CRN’s Steve Burke contributed to this report.

 

 

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