NSO changes CEO as part of wider reshuffle
NSO Group’s chief executive quits as part of an internal shakeup at the Israeli spyware firm, whose technology has allegedly been misused by governments and other groups to hack into journalists’ cellphones and political dissidents.
NSO said on Sunday that its chief executive Yaron Shohat would lead the company until a new chief executive was appointed to replace Shalev Hulio, one of its founders.
Shohat is expected to lead a reorganization that is expected to result in the loss of around 100 employees, or 13% of its workforce, a person briefed on the matter confirmed. The job losses were first reported by Reuters.
“The company-wide reorganization will look at all aspects of its business, including streamlining its operations to ensure that NSO remains one of the world’s leading high-tech cyber intelligence companies, focusing on NATO member countries,” NSO said in a statement.
Hulio will remain involved on strategic matters and will “lead any future investment or sale,” a person briefed on the matter said. He also remains a member of the company’s board of directors and is a shareholder.
“NSO has achieved tremendous global success and our technologies continue to help save lives around the world,” Hulio said. “The company is reorganizing to prepare for its next phase of growth.”
NSO sells its Pegasus surveillance software to government and law enforcement agencies. It allows users to hack into mobile phones and monitor emails, calls and other communications.
It has come under fire after reports that the technology has been used to target communications from dissidents in several countries. The company has previously said it cannot control who is being monitored with technology by its customers.
The company was added last year to a US list of entities prohibited from receiving exports from US companies.
NSO has denied any wrongdoing and said it restricts the sale of its software. Focusing on selling to NATO members would potentially help address criticism over the use of its products, but could limit its customer base.
“The company’s products remain in high demand by governments and law enforcement agencies due to its advanced technology and proven ability to help these customers fight crime and terrorism,” Shohat said.
“NSO will ensure that the company’s breakthrough technologies are used for legitimate and worthwhile purposes,” he added.
Additional reporting by Kaye Wiggins