Kudelski Security Names New CEO To Fuel IoT, Blockchain Investments

CTO Andrew Howard's promotion to CEO means he’s now in charge of Kudelski's sales, marketing and business development teams, where he plans to bring an engineering mindset to how those functions work.

Kudelski Security will promote Chief Technology Officer Andrew Howard to the CEO slot to advance the company's practices around Internet of Things security and blockchain security.

The Phoenix-based solution provider has tapped Howard, a three-year company veteran, to replace Rich Fennessy, who has led Kudelski since October 2015. Howard will formally take over as CEO on Aug. 1.

"I have a lot of expectations around pace and energy," Howard told CRN. "I expect and will demand that innovation continue to be a core competency for the company."

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[Related: Swiss Security Giant Kudelski Buys SP500 Superstar M&S Technologies, Eyes More Acquisitions In U.S. As Part Of Global Buildout]

A key area of focus for Howard in his new role will be furthering the company's expertise around IoT and blockchain security. Kudelski established an IoT Security Center of Excellence as it became apparent that the responsibilities of the chief information security officer had expanded beyond the enterprise network to include IoT and operational technology products.

As a result, Howard said Kudelski created a separate entity focused exclusively on managing and monitoring IoT products and securing IoT devices.

As for blockchain, Howard said Kudelski has for a while provided cryptographic expertise to venture capital firms. Now that blockchain has survived the crypto winter and crossed the hype curve, Howard said the technology is being applied to industries very much in need of disruption such as supply chain and medicine.

As customers across verticals increasingly make blockchain a part of their portfolio, Howard said Kudelski has prepped itself to meet their needs.

Howard's promotion to CEO means that he'll now be in charge of Kudelski's sales, marketing and business development functions, where he said he plans to bring an engineering mindset to how those functions work to ensure the company is operationally efficient.

"I'm excited about it," Howard said. "There's an opportunity to do good things."

Howard said he also wants to provide Kudelski customers with more managed capabilities so that they can have a full-spectrum view of data regardless of where it's residing. Howard plans to serve as both CEO and CTO of Kudelski in the short run, although the company will continue to invest in its technical leadership.

Kudelski generated more than $150 million in gross sales in 2018 thanks to its advisory services, technology products, managed security services, and targeted research and development practices. The company employs roughly 280 people, according to LinkedIn.

During Howard's tenure with Kudelski, he said the company has challenged the status quo of what a solution provider should look like by staying away from commodity offerings and providing services that are highly distinguished in the market. The company also employs a lot of former practitioners with subject matter expertise to interact with customers about their technology investments, he said.

Kudelski plans to hire more personnel in the data loss prevention and identity and access management spaces, Howard said. The company also plans to hire people who can address the data privacy impacts associated with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence as well as the changing regulatory landscape around data governance.

"Bringing in top talent is a key priority for us," Howard said.