Uber Hires Former NSA Counsel Matt Olsen As New Security Boss

His predecessor was fired after a massive data breach.

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Uber has hired a new security boss to fill the position left vacant by Joe Sullivan, who was fired last year after a massive data breach occurred on his watch. Sullivan's replacement is Matt Olsen, former general counsel of the National Security Agency (NSA). Olsen's hiring was originally reported by The New York Times and confirmed by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi via Twitter.

"Thrilled to have Matt Olsen onboard as Uber Chief Trust and Security Officer," Khosrowshahi tweeted. "He has more than earned the respect of our team at all levels while working with us over the last few months."

In addition to his work as NSA general counsel, Olsen is a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, according to The New York Times. He was most recently the President and Chief Revenue Officer of IronNet Cybersecurity, a consultancy he co-founded with former NSA director General Keith Alexander.

Olsen told The New York Times that increasing transparency and unifying the security team—which is currently split into two groups, one focused on online security and one focused on physical threats to drivers and passengers—will be his initial priorities. He said earning trust will be a major challenge.

Uber lost a great amount of trust last year when it admitted that hackers had accessed data from 57 million drivers and passengers. The company did not disclose the breach, instead paying the hackers $100,000 to keep quiet. Khosrowshahi, who had only recently taken over as CEO, fired then-security boss Joe Sullivan for his handling of the situation. But Uber has still faced increased scrutiny from regulators over the incident.