Uber taps former NSA official to head security team

Uber taps former NSA official to head security team

Uber announced Tuesday that it has named Matt Olsen, a former National Counterterrorism Center director and National Security Agency (NSA) general counsel, as its new chief security officer.

Olsen, who served as the counterterrorism head under President Obama until 2014, will replace Joe Sullivan as the ride-hailing company's top security official.

Sullivan was fired by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi over his handling of a massive cyber breach last year that happened during former CEO Travis Kalanick’s tenure.


Uber’s security reputation took a major hit from the breach, in which personal data from 57 million user accounts was stolen. Under Sullivan, the company paid $100,000 to silence the hackers, which the company was pilloried for in the public after the payment leaked.

Now Olsen will be tasked with helping repair that reputation as a part of Khosrowshahi’s broader mission to help improve the company’s public image.

“I look forward to moving Uber’s security organization beyond traditional corporate security to a model of mission security—the safety and security of customers and their data,” Olsen said in a statement to The Hill.

Olsen noted that that one of his top priorities going into the job is “aligning Uber’s security strategy with the broader goals of Uber’s leadership for the company.”

Under Kalanick, Uber found itself embroiled a series of scandals, ranging from allegations coming to light about the company's mistreatment of women within its ranks to scrambling to explain its broad surveillance monitoring programs.

Kalanick was ousted from the company in June 2017 and replaced two months later by Khosrowshahi, the former CEO of Expedia.

Morgan Chalfant contributed