Uber hires former NSA counsel Matt Olsen as top security executive

The former co-founder off IronNet Cybersecurity and former general counsel of the National Security Agency will be the ridesharing company's chief trust and security officer.
Matt Olsen speaks in April 2012 at an event hosted in Arlington, Virginia, by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. (Rachel Lynne Smith / Reality Prose Productions / Flickr)

After a tumultuous few months, Uber has a new chief trust and security officer: Matt Olsen, former co-founder off IronNet Cybersecurity and former general counsel of the National Security Agency.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted about the new hire after it was initially reported by the New York Times:

The search to fill Uber’s CSO position began last November when CSO Joe Sullivan and a slate of security executives left the company following a breach exposing data of 57 million customers at the company and accusations of a $100,000 coverup.


Hiring Olsen is one of the most significant steps the ridesharing company has taken in shifting leadership to a new Khosrowshahi-led era. The addition of “trust” to Olsen’s title is Uber’s push to emphasize that the hire is part of a new chapter in the company’s history.

The previous chapter, led by founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, included the October 2016 breach, systematic surveillance of competitors and active surveillance of customers — perhaps most notably a rape victim assaulted during a ride in 2014. Kalanick resigned under mounting pressure from investors and the public in 2017.

Uber’s general counsel sent an email to company employees Tuesday morning announcing the news and Olsen’s start date of mid-September.

“Many of you already know Matt, who we brought on as an advisor late last year to help assess the organizational structure and strategy of our security teams,” the letter read. “Matt has an incredible background and is deeply respected across industries, having co-founded a cybersecurity firm and served as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the general counsel of the National Security Agency, and in leadership positions at the Department of Justice and the FBI.”

Sullivan now works as the chief security officer at the network security giant Cloudflare.

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