50 Influential CISOs and Cybersecurity Leaders to Follow

  • May 16, 2023

Emily Bonnie

Senior Content Marketing Manager at Secureframe


Anna Fitzgerald

Senior Content Marketing Manager at Secureframe

As businesses rely more and more on data and emerging technology to drive growth, the role of Chief Information Security Officer is becoming increasingly important. CISOs are instrumental in fostering a security-first mindset not only in their own organizations but across their entire sphere of influence, whether it’s within their industry or in shaping government policies and legislation. 

Today’s CISOs face a myriad of complex challenges. They must maintain an exhaustive understanding of their organization’s threat landscape while balancing business risk and opportunity. They must attract and retain cybersecurity professionals amid a severe talent shortage — while ensuring their teams can effectively focus on high-priority projects that keep them engaged. And as information security remains a top priority for board members and investors, CISOs are being asked to accomplish more with less. 

To celebrate these accomplishments, we are recognizing 50 prominent CISOs who are paving the way for stronger information security practices. In addition to their professional accomplishments and industry experience, the criteria we used to select these CISOs included: 

  • Demonstrated leadership: These CISOs are role models with a proven commitment to sharing their knowledge and expertise. 
  • A forward-thinking mindset: Effective CISOs are proactive, always looking towards the future to understand how businesses today can build a more secure tomorrow. 
  • Level of influence: Whether they are advising top government officials, sharing knowledge with thousands of followers, or contributing to new legislation, these CISOs are global ambassadors for more robust information security. 

50 CISOs and cybersecurity leaders to watch

  • Alissa Abdullah, PhD, CISO at Xerox Corporation, former Deputy CIO for the Executive Office of the President of the United States
  • Ed Amoroso, Former SVP and Chief Security Officer at AT&T, founder and CEO of TAG Cyber, LLC, Adjunct and Research Professor
  • Bryce Austin, former CISO at Wells Fargo, Founder and Executive Director at CyberSafe Foundation, cybersecurity author and keynote speaker
  • James J Azar, CTO/CSO at AP4 Group, host at CyberHub Podcast and CISO Talk Podcast, member of Cornerstone FinTech Advisory Committee, Co-Founder & CSO at CyberHub USA, former CISO at Animo Bancorp, Board Advisor at University of North Georgia, Whole Cyber Human Initiative, former Member of the Board of Advisors at National Technology Security Coalition, recognized by Cyber 2021 40 under 40
  • Maryam Bechtel, CISO at AGL, Board of Directors at ISACA Sydney Chapter, Member of Australian Women in Security Network, Advisory Board Member of Sekuro, 2022 AISA Cyber Security Professional of the Year, keynote speaker
  • Geoff Belknap, CISO at LinkedIn, Advisor at Reach Security and Y Combinator, holds multiple patents for information security innovations
  • Patrick Benoit, Global CISO at Brinks, CIO/CISO Advisory Board Member at HMG Strategy, CISO Governing Body Member at Event, Advisory Board Member at CISO XC
  • Mark Carter, CISO at Vimeo, Board Member at The Carter Family Foundation and Tetrate, former EVP at Salesforce, former CISO at Tesla
  • Edna Conway, VP, Security & Risk Officer, Azure Hardware Systems & Infrastructure at Microsoft, Advisor Council Member at NightDragon, Board of Directors at Fusion Risk Management, Attabotics, Inc., Active Cypher, 2023 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Pro to Know list, 2021 Executive WOmen’s Forum Executive of the Year, 2021 Top Cybersecurity Leaders by Security Magazine, ISSA Hall of Fame 2021, 2020 Top Influencer in Cybersecurity y Onalytica
  • Mary Ann Davidson, Chief Security Officer at Oracle Corporation, Member of the CSIS Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency
  • Dave DeWalt, Founder and CEO at NightDragon, presidential appointee to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council, Chairman of Safety & Security at Delta Airlines, Managing Director at AllegisCyber, and Founder & Executive Chairman at Momentum Cyber
  • Andy Ellis, Advisory CISO at Orca Security, 2022 Sans Difference Maker Award, Podcast of the Year for Cloud Security Reinvented, 2021 inducted into the CSO Hall of Fame, CSO Magazine, holds 4 patents, Contributing Writer for CSO Online, Rotating co-host for the CISO/Vendor Relationship Podcast
  • Adam Ely, CISO at Fidelity, former CISO eCommerce & Deputy CISO at Walmart, co-founder at Bluebox Security, former CISO, Heroic at Salesforce, San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40
  • Gary Eppinger, Vice President of Technology and CISO at CSX, Former founder and CISO at National Leaders in Information Security & Cyber-Security, CISO at Carnival Corporation and SuperValu, recognized by ExecRank’s Top Security Executive Rankings
  • Nicole Ford, Global VP & CISO at Rockwell Automation, former Global Vice President and CISO at Carrier and Baxter International Inc., former CISO at Venable LLP and Inovalon, Inc., member of AWS CISO Council
  • Ron Green, EVP and Chief Security Officer at Mastercard. Chairman - Cyber Investigation Advisory Board, US Secret Service, Chairperson for Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC), Vice Chairman - Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Katie Hanahan, Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy at ITsavvy, Chicago CISO of the Year Co-Chair
  • Jadee Hanson, CISO and CIO at Code 42, Former Cyber Security Advisor at YL Ventures, Sr Director of Information Security at Target
  • Malcolm Harkins, Chief Security & Trust Officer at Epiphany Systems, Board Member at Protect to Enable, Advisor at BLACKCLOAK, Top 10 Breakaway Leader, 2013, Excellent in Innovation Award by Security Advisor Alliance, 2015, Americas Information Security Leadership Award (ISLA) - Senior Information Security Professional, 2012
  • Brian Harrell, CISO of Avangrid, former Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Meredith Harper, SVP & CISO at Synchrony, former VP and CISO at Eli Lilly and Company, member of CISO Exchange, recognized by 2022 Global CISO 100 Recognition by Hot Topics, 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology by Black Money Worldwide, 2021 CISO Hall of Fame Inductee by CSO50.
  • Judy Hatchett, VP, Information Security & CISO at Superscripts, former CISO at Fairview Health Services and Sr. Global Manager, Information Security Risk & Compliance at 3M, named one of the Top 100 CISOs globally by Hot Topics in 2019
  • Gary Hayslip, CISO at SoftBank Investment Advisers Strategic Advisor, Member of the Information Security Leadership Foundation, Published author, Top Tech Exec Awards 2017
  • Niloofar Razi Howe, Former CSO at Endgame and RSA, Board Member at Tenable, Pondurance, CompoSecure and Morgan Stanley, Fellow at the International Security Program, cybersecurity advisor to the U.S. government.
  • Chris Hughes, CISO & Co-Founder at Aquia, Advisor at Endor Labs, TestifySec, Resurface Labs, Adjust Professor at UMUC
  • Anthony Johnson, Former Deputy CISO at Capital One, Founder & Managing Partner at Delve Risk, Member of the Board of Directors at The Cyber AB and CodeVA, Forbes Business Council Contributor
  • Steve Katz, Former CISO at Citigroup, owner at Security Risk Solutions, former Executive Advisor Security & Privacy at Deloitte, former Executive Advisor to Head of Technology Risk at Kaiser Permanente
  • Mahmood Khan, SVP & Global CISO at CNA Insurance, Board of Advisors at Cyberstarts, former Managing Director - Cyber Security Operations at United Airlines, former Senior VP - Global Information Security at Bank of America
  • Ricardo Lafosse, CISO at The Kraft Heinz Company, former CISO at Morningstar and Cook County Government, 2019 Information Security Executive of the Year Award winner by Information Security Executive, 2016 Cybersecurity Leadership Award by Center for Digital Government
  • Dennis Leber, Interim CISO at UConn Health and Adjunct Professor at National University, University at Albany, SUNY, and Indiana Institute of Technology, CEO at Leber Consulting, LLC, Best of Kentucky Awards - Best Security Innovation 2018
  • Mike Maraya, CISO at Google Moonshot Factory, former CISO at the US Department of Commerce and Deputy CISO for the US Department of Energy, awarded the Commerce Gold and Bronze Medals by the US Department of Commerce
  • Marcos Marrero, CISO at H.I.G. Capital, Advisor at NetRise, Inc., Black Kite, and Digitalware, Inc. awarded 2021 Security Leader of the Year - Ethics by GDS, Global CISO 100 2020 by Hot Topics, Top 100 CISO of the Year - 2014 by CISO Platform
  • Michael McNeil, Global CISO at McKesson Corporation, former Global Product Security & Services Officer at Philips Healthcare, Global Chief Privacy & Security Officer at Medtronic, member of the Health & Human Services Cyber Security Task Force and Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology
  • Mike Miller, vCISO at Appalachia Technologies, LLC, former vCISO at Cyber Protection Group, Senior Security Consultant, Published author, and Advisory Committee Member at Allegany Community College
  • Wendy Nather, Head of Advisory CISOs at Cisco, former CISO for the Texas Education Agency and the 451 Group
  • Troels Oerting, Chairman of the Board at Bullwall, Board Member at Cybercrypt, Advisory Board Member at Venal, External Lecturer at Copenhagen Business School, former Expert Member of Interpols Global Cybercrime Expert Group, former Chairman of the Board of World Economic Forums Centre for Cybersecurity, former Head of Global Center for Cybersecurity, former CSO and CISO at Barclays
  • Theresa Payton, Board of Directors at Paychex, Member of the Cyber Defenders Council, CEO, Senior Partner, and President at Fortalice Solutions, LLC, former CIO at the White House
  • Dana Prochaska, Deputy CISO at Texas Mutual Insurance, former CISO at McLane Company
  • Jim Routh, Former CISO at MassMutual, former CSO at CVSHealth, CSO and CISO at Aetna, former Global Head of Application, Mobile and Internet Security at JP Morgan Chase, former CISO at American Express
  • Sherry Ryan, Former CISO at Juniper Networks, Former CISO at Blue Shield of California, former Global CISO at HP, former Director of IT Security at Safeway, former Director - Global Information Security at Levi Strauss
  • Bruce Schneier, Former CTO of Counterpane Internet Security, fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
  • Aaron Shierlaw, CISO at Electric, Former Director, Information Security at Insurity and PDC Energy
  • Drew Simonis, CISO at Juniper Networks, former VP of Global Security at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, former CISO at Willis 
  • David Stapleton, VP/CISO at CyberGRX, Former Senior FedRAMP Assessor at Earthling Security and Senior Security Analyst with the FDA
  • Confidence Staveley, vCISO, Founder and Executive Director of CyberSafe Foundation, Official member of Forbes Technology Council. Recognized by Top Cyber News MAGAZINE 40 under 40 in Cybersecurity 2023 Special Edition, International Security Journal 2022 influencer, 20 African Women of Impact 2022 - Ventures Africa, CyberSecurity Woman of the Year Award winner 2022 and 2021, issued by United CyberSecurity Alliance, CIO MAGAZINE: 45 Most Influential Women in Digital Transformation 2021-2022, IFSEC Global Top Influencers in Security & Fire (One-to-Watch) for 2021, Young CISO of the Year award 2021, CovenWorks Top 10 Powerful Women in Technology 2021, Top 50 Women in Cybersecurity in Africa 2020
  • Parisa Tabriz, VP/GM of Chrome at Google, Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Consultant to United States Digital Service, known as the "Security Princess" for improving security across Google's suite of products.
  • Maria Thompson, CISSP, CRISC, SLG Executive Government Advisor - Cybersecurity at Amazon Web Services, former State Chief Risk Officer for the state of North Carolina, named one of the Top Women in Cybersecurity by Cyber Defense Magazine in 2020
  • Aaron Turner, SaaS CTO at Vector, Board Member at IntegriCell and HighSide
  • Phil Venables, VP/CISO at Google Cloud, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Board member at HackerOne and Interos, former Senior Advisor - Risk and Cybersecurity at Goldman Sachs, holds multiple patents, ISACA Wasserman Award, SINET Innovation Award, Critical Infrastructure Protection Award, RSA Conference Award
  • Robert Wood, CISO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Co-Founder at Soft Side of Cyber, Fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, former CSO at Simon Data
  • Sounil Yu, CISO and Head of Research at JupiterOne, Board Member of the FAIR Institute, Advisor for Permiso Security, RealCISO.io, and Strategic Cyber Ventures, 2022 SANS Institute Difference Makers Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award, Influencer of the Year in 2021 by SC Awards, and a 2021 Top 10 CISO by Black Unicorn Awards, Recognized as one of the most influential people in security in 2020 by Security Magazine, Author of Cyber Defense Matrix, 9 publications, Conference Co-Chair of Art into Science: A Conference on Defense, holds over 20 patents

Building the future of cybersecurity

As we look to the future of cybersecurity, CISOs will continue to play a crucial role in keeping our organizations, data, and systems secure. By embracing new technologies, approaches, and ideas, these 50 CISOs and cybersecurity leaders are helping drive the industry forward and make our digital world safer.

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