George Kurtz is the co-founder and CEO of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike. He was also the founder of Foundstone and chief technology officer of McAfee.[3]

George Kurtz
George Kurtz, co-founder and CEO of CrowdStrike
Born1970/1971 (age 48–49)
Alma materSeton Hall University[2]
OccupationPresident and CEO of CrowdStrike
Net worthUS$1 billion

Early life and educationEdit

Kurtz grew up in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey and attended Parsippany High School.[4][1] He claims that he started programming video games on his Commodore when he was in fourth grade. He went on to build bulletin board systems in high school.[2] He graduated from Seton Hall University with a degree in accounting.[1]


Price Waterhouse and FoundstoneEdit

After college, Kurtz began his career at Price Waterhouse as a CPA. In 1993, Price Waterhouse made Kurtz one of its first employees in its new security group. In 1999, he co-wrote Hacking Exposed, a book about cybersecurity for network administrators, with Stuart McClure and Joel Scambray. The book sold more than 600,000 copies and was translated into more than 30 languages.[1][5] Later that year he started a cybersecurity company, Foundstone, one of the first dedicated security consulting companies. Foundstone focused on vulnerability management software and services and developed a well-recognized incident response practice, with much of the Fortune 100 among its customers.[6][7]


McAfee acquired Foundstone for $86 million in August 2004, with Kurtz assuming the title of senior vice president and general manager of risk management at McAfee.[6][8] During his tenure, he helped craft the company's strategy for security risk management.[8] In October 2009, McAfee appointed him to the roles of worldwide chief technology officer and executive vice president.[9] In 2010, he participated in Operation Aurora, the investigation of a series of cyber attacks against Google and several other companies.[10] In 2011, he led McAfee's research around the emerging Night Dragon and Shady RAT threats, alongside McAfee's vice president of threat research Dmitri Alperovitch.[11][12]

Over time, Kurtz became frustrated that existing security technology functioned slowly and was not, as he perceived it, evolving at the pace of new threats.[13] On a flight, he watched the passenger seated next to him wait 15 minutes for McAfee software to load on his laptop, an incident he later cited as part of his inspiration for founding CrowdStrike.[14][1] He resigned from McAfee in October 2011.[12]


In November 2011, Kurtz joined private equity firm Warburg Pincus as an "executive in residence" and began working on his next project, CrowdStrike. He, Gregg Marston (former chief financial officer at Foundstone), and Alperovitch co-founded CrowdStrike in Irvine, California, formally announcing the company's launch in February 2012.[15][16] Kurtz pitched the idea for the company to Warburg Pincus and secured $25 million in funding.[2][17]

CrowdStrike shifted the focus from anti-malware and antivirus products (McAfee's approach to cybersecurity) to identifying the techniques used by hackers in order to spot incoming threats.[18][19] The company also focuses on a "cloud-first" model in order to reduce the software load on customers' computers.[18] CrowdStrike, now headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, attracted public interest in June 2016 for its role in investigating the Democratic National Committee cyber attacks,[14] and in May 2017, the company exceeded a valuation of $1 billion.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

Kurtz is married to wife, Anna, and has two children: son Alex and daughter Allegra. In his personal time, he is an avid exotic car collector and also races an Audi R8 LMS GT4 in the Pirelli World Challenge.[1][21] Previously, he raced in the Radical Cup and Sports Car Club of America endurance events.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Velloor, Ravi (10 September 2017). "In Good Company: CrowdStrike's George Kurtz is in a race against hackers". The Straits Times. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Yakowicz, Will (September 2016). "When Wall Street and Washington Get Hacked, They Call This Guy". Inc. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  3. ^ "George Kurtz". CrowdStrike. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  4. ^ Westhoven, William. "Parsippany native leads charge against cyber attacks", Asbury Park Press, December 29, 2014. Accessed February 22, 2018. "A Parsippany native on the front lines of the global cyber wars says if you thought 2014 was wild, wait until 2015.... Kurtz, who spent much of his time in Parsippany fly fishing or playing for the Parsippany High School football team, started out as an accountant after graduating from Seton Hall University, after which he worked for firms such as Price Waterhouse."
  5. ^ "Influencers - George Kurtz". SC Media. 22 August 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b Fisher, Dennis (16 August 2004). "McAfee Buys Security Consulting Firm Foundstone". eWeek. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  7. ^ High, Peter (23 May 2017). "Security Advice From The CEO Of The World's Newest Unicorn - CrowdStrike". Forbes. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  8. ^ a b McLaughlin, Kevin (18 October 2011). "McAfee Looking For New CTO After Kurtz Steps Down". CRN. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  9. ^ "McAfee Names George Kurtz EVP and CTO". Channel Times. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  10. ^ Jackson, William (1 September 2010). "How Google attacks changed the security game". GCN. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  11. ^ Raywood, Dan (10 February 2011). "McAfee CTO warns of new combined threat named 'Night Dragon'". SC Media UK. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  12. ^ a b Finkle, Jim (18 October 2011). "McAfee loses high-profile researcher and CTO". Reuters. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  13. ^ Fox-Brewster, Thomas (6 July 2016). "Duelling Unicorns: CrowdStrike Vs. Cylance In Brutal Battle To Knock Hackers Out". Forbes. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  14. ^ a b Marwan, Samar (11 July 2017). "CrowdStrike Helped Trace The DNC Hack To Russia -- Now Business Is Booming". Forbes. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Ex-McAfee execs start security firm, CrowdStrike". Reuters. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  16. ^ Rao, Leena (23 February 2012). "Former McAfee CTO Debuts Stealthy Security Technology Startup CrowdStrike With $26M In Funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Outmaneuvered at Their Own Game, Antivirus Makers Struggle to Adapt". CNBC. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  18. ^ a b Hackett, Robert (29 July 2015). "Standing up at the gates of hell: CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz". Fortune. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  19. ^ Kerner, Sean Michael (21 June 2013). "Former McAfee CTO Strikes Back with Crowdstrike". eSecurity Planet. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  20. ^ Hackett, Robert (17 May 2017). "Hack Investigator CrowdStrike Reaches $1 Billion Valuation". Fortune. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  21. ^ Malsher, David (13 August 2017). "Utah PWC: James delivers fourth GTS win for Panoz". Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  22. ^ "George Kurtz: Leader On And Off The Track". Speed Sport. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.

External linksEdit