Tech

Ondrej Vlcek, the cyber security mogul leading Avast into the big leagues

As a teenager in the early 1990s, Ondravruchek hacked the way to own the first computer.

A young coding enthusiast who grew up in the Czech Republic found a competition in a shop window in Prague to overcome one robust security system for PCs.

The device itself is a reward, “a few weeks later I took the computer home,” Vlcek recalls. interview last year.

Since then, the 44-year-old has built a solid career on the other side of cyberbattle. His mission as Avast’s CEO of the Cybersecurity and Antivirus Software Group was to help consumers protect their increasingly digital lives from bold intruders and an ever-growing number of hacking tools. ..

U.S. rival NortonLifeLock decided to buy a London-listed group in a consumer security transaction worth more than $ 8 billion this week as Pandemic boosted demand for Avast’s cybercrime services. Announced that they have agreed.

For Vlcek, the acquisition is the culmination of a surge from Avast’s early start-up corporate intern over 25 years ago to steering what has become one of Europe’s largest stocks. Subject to the terms of the agreement, he will join Norton, which has a market capitalization of over $ 15 billion, and will become president and director of the global cyber giant.

“He took the time to climb the ladder,” said Kelby Burton, Avast’s legal counsel at Prague’s headquarters until he moved to the US technology group Quiq last month.

Burton describes Vlcek as a stubborn and determined “entrepreneur” leader. “He is very enthusiastic about the cause … And he does not suffer from fools who are not.”

Born in 1977 to a then-communist Czechoslovak actor and television news presenter, Vulchek was the art of computing when the Velvet Revolution brought democracy and capitalism to Prague and the Internet era began to take hold. I learned.

At the age of 18, he joined Avast (then known as Alwill) with five other employees. Since then, loyal to the company, he has accumulated a deep technical understanding of antivirus software sold through the “freemium” business model, and has since served as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

“Avast has always been a product and customer driven company, and Ondray is at the heart of our products,” said Siddhar, a partner at CVC Capital, who was a key investor in Avast’s last private equity financing round in 2014. Topatel says. He attended Avast’s board of directors from 2014 to 2018 and described his way of working as “calm ability.”

However, according to Avast’s former staff chief, Alan Russaby, it was Vlcek’s reason to increase Avast’s revenue from about $ 20 million to about $ 800 million as CEO between 2009 and 2019. Guidance from mentor and boss Vince Steckler. ..

“Ondley found Vince, and Vince found Ondley,” Rusabi said. “Ondley has brought great strategic skills. He was a great thinker and also commanded the respect of the Czech staff. Vince quickly realized that the man he could count on was Ondley. “

Vlcek was appointed Chief Executive Officer in mid-2019. It was one of the largest tech listings in history in the capital after the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange.

As a leader, employees are willing to portray Ondrej as a listener to both his staff and his customers with a welcome open door policy in the office. According to one staff member, he took up a new position and soon went to Avast’s global office to make time to meet with employees in person.

His other statement move was to abandon £ 1 a year and pay a charity a $ 100,000 board fee. “We all want to work for a company whose primary purpose is not to generate income,” he said. interview at the time. “And if the CEO sends this very strong signal, it means I’m doing this job for many reasons, not just for my salary. I think it’s very strong.”

But his tenure wasn’t without snuffs. While defending consumer privacy, Vlcek was forced to avoid the pain of Avast’s own privacy. Investigative journalism The company was found to collect internet browsing data for users who downloaded antivirus programs before selling them to advertisers through a subsidiary called Jumpshot.

Vlcek issued He apologized for immediately closing the jump shot business because he felt “personally responsible” for the episode and did not fit into the company’s “North Star.” Stock prices at that time fell by more than 20%.

With the “spyware” scandal behind him, Vlcek has sought expansion in the form of buyers. According to Norton CEO Vincent Pilette, Ondley proposed having breakfast in late 2019 while traveling to the Bay Area, and the two talked about the evolution of the cyber consumer market.

Both businesses are diversifying from antivirus software to areas such as personal information theft prevention and online privacy services, expanding from computer to mobile and smart home devices.

“At some point we were in the same area, but it became clear that the company’s strengths were different,” citing the “technology and IP-related” advantage from the well-known Avast and Norton brands. Said Pillet.

“Both of us are not about” our work “but about our mission. .. .. So, “Hey, why aren’t we trying to join forces?” He added.

Alliances can be painful in the short term, but Pilette Shown He plans to reduce 1,000 jobs from the integrated group. This allows Big Tech groups such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple to build additional security protection directly on the operating system, allowing them to influence the company in increasingly crowded spaces.

According to experts, the fate of consumer cybersecurity relies heavily on marketing and persuading unconscious citizens to pay for services traditionally sought only by businesses. But for his supporters, Vlcek’s success may not end with cybersecurity.

“He reinvents himself again. I’ve talked to him before, but he said,” What about version 2 of Ondrey Wurchek? ” “He has a big career in front of him, he has more than 20 years to mark him.”

Ondrej Vlcek, the cyber security mogul leading Avast into the big leagues Source link Ondrej Vlcek, the cyber security mogul leading Avast into the big leagues

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