UOB has hired a chief information security officer, and he comes not from a bank but from Chinese technology giant Huawei.
Tobias Gondrom has joined UOB at managing director level following a three-year stint as chief technology officer for security at Shenzhen-headquartered Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer and second largest smartphone producer.
While banks in Asia have recently expressed concerns about losing senior staff to Chinese tech companies, Gondrom’s appointment is proof that talent sometimes flows the other way. It’s also a boon for UOB’s technology-hiring strategy, which is targeting people working within large tech firms, Susan Hwee, head of group technology and operations, told us previously.
At Huawei, Gondrom led the “development and improvement of security technologies and security competitiveness across a multitude of product lines” and drove “security for SDN, NFV, IoT, IP, wireless and network technologies”, according to his online profile.
He has left global tech powerhouse Huawei, which employs about 180,000 people and runs more than 20 R&D institutes in countries from Ireland to India, for the smallest of Singapore’s three local banks. His move to the Singapore banking sector, however, now makes him hot property in the Republic.
Information security is one of the most sought-after banking functions, with demand driven not just by the threat of online attacks, but also by the need to comply with increasingly vigorous regulations, such as the Cybersecurity Act, which became law in February. Moreover, as a local bank, UOB can offer senior group-wide information security roles that are based in Singapore rather than in the West.
Security veteran Gondrom began his career in 1999 with an eight-year stint at Canadian software company OpenText – latterly as head of the security team – and a firm it acquired, IXOS. Before joining Huawei in 2015, he spent seven years at the (now-closed) risk consultancy Thames Stanley in Hong Kong as head of information security and risk. He is also a current project leader and former chairman of OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), a non-profit organisation that advances the cause of application security globally.
Gondrom is not the only major information security hire at a Singaporean bank of late. As we reported in June, Anthony Fung joined OCBC’s technology information security office as head of group red team (the unit that hacks the bank’s systems to test vulnerabilities) after previously working for Standard Chartered.
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