Two months ago, seemingly out of nowhere, CrowdStrike’s co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch decided it was time to depart.
Alperovitch, who served as the cybersecurity giant’s chief technology office since its 2011 debut, said he was leaving to launch a non-profit policy accelerator. CrowdStrike named Michael Sentonas, who managed the firm’s tech strategy for three years, as his replacement.
The news came at a critical time for the maker and seller of subscription-based endpoint security software that protects against breaches and cyberattacks. The company’s stock was in recovery after it fell below its IPO price, just months after popping 90% on its first day on the public market. It was one of the biggest offerings of the year, reaching more than $11 billion in value by the end, a far cry from a decade earlier when the security giant started out as a few notes scribbled on a napkin in a hotel lobby.
And then the pandemic happened.
By the time of his appointment, Sentonas was preparing to move to the U.S. from his native Australia, but “that hasn’t been the easiest thing to work through,” he told TechCrunch in a recent call. Despite having to balance the time difference and often swapping days with nights, the newly-appointed chief technology officer says it’s largely been “business as usual” for CrowdStrike.
This interview was edited for clarity and length.
TechCrunch: Two months ago, you were appointed chief technology officer at CrowdStrike. Prior to that you were vice president of tech strategy. How have things been since the promotion?
Michael Sentonas: In some respects, things have been business as usual. A lot of the work I was doing around tech strategy and longer-term vision about [what] we should be working on hasn’t changed for me. Obviously, when one of the co-founders moves on, they have big shoes to fill. So, I’ve inherited a larger team. It’s working with the team around what can I assist them with to help us continue to focus. Probably the biggest change is just being stuck here because of what’s going on around the world and just adjusting to largely covering a U.S. timezone from Australia, which isn’t easy.
That can’t be easy?
We’re a globally-spread and globally-diverse organization. The last statistic that I looked at a few weeks ago was that 70% of our staff logins are remote. I’m dealing with Europe and the U.S., that’s just the way we’re spread. It’s all around the world.