Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Former Yahoo Security Head Somaini Lands at Cloud Startup Box

2810081Justin Somaini, the former chief information security officer at Yahoo who left that company in January, has landed a new job at high-flying cloud-computing startup Box.

In an announcement set to be made later today, Somaini, whose title will be VP and chief trust officer, is one of three high-profile hires at Box that will be announced later today. The other two are Niall Wall, who will be SVP and head of business development, and Jeff Mannie, who will be VP, controller and chief accounting officer. Wall will take over for Karen Appleton, who has been promoted to senior VP in charge of global alliances.

What does the new title — chief trust officer — mean? “Two things,” Somaini told me in a brief conversation yesterday. “Really driving a trust strategy for the company around the products and services we provide and how that relates to internal functions of how we perform. Second, we have to make sure there’s a tight integration with our customer to base to really understand their needs. And it’s not only that we’re able to respond to their pain points, but that we’re able to predict them.”

niall_wallHe should have a pretty good appreciation for their pain points. Before creating the CISO job at Yahoo, he held the same title at security software giant Symantec. Before that, he was director of information security at VeriSign and an adviser to Palo Alto Networks. He also writes a widely read blog on computer security.

Wall is also a Symantec alum. Most recently, he was VP and general manager of the Norton Data Services business unit. Before Symantec, he worked at Oracle and Digital Equipment Corp., now a part of Hewlett-Packard. At Box, he’ll be overseeing the company’s efforts to create partnerships and strategic alliances.

jeff_mannieMannie hails from PayPal, the payments unit at online sales giant eBay. He’ll be in charge of external financial reporting, policies and controls. He’s probably going to be busy as Box heads toward its long-talked-about initial public offering next year.

Box has been aggressively raising money, and in January quietly increased its funding to $150 million from a previous $125 million in a round led by private equity firm General Atlantic, at a valuation of about $1.2 billion. CEO Aaron Levie, the 27-year-old wunderkind who started the company in a dorm room at the University of Southern California in 2005, has said on the record that Box will likely go public in 2014, and it has started hiring more execs with time at publicly held companies on their resumes.

The expanded round brought Box’s total capital raised to $312 million. Other investors include Salesforce.com, SAP Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Bessemer Venture Partners.


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