Howard Schmidt, perhaps the United States most visible chief security officer, has left online auction house eBay Inc. and is donning the jersey of a startup security hardware vendor.
Schmidt said goodbye to eBay on May 1, and hello to ELI—Electronic Lifestyle Integration Inc. of Mount Laurel, N.J.—where he will be chairman of the board.
Schmidt joined eBay in May 2003, but had scaled back to part-time work there to act as chairman of the US-CERT (U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team) in October.
Schmidt will continue consulting for eBay, which is based in San Jose, Calif., but said there was little left to do as CSO.
"Theyre rock-solid as far as security is concerned. Theres a culture of security and privacy there thats already set," he said.
Leaving the company will make Schmidt available for international travel, a frequent requirement as US-CERT chairman, and to head up industry initiatives, he said.
As chairman of ELI, Schmidt will be helping the company with the rollout of its product, a managed security appliance for home broadband Internet users.
Schmidt will also advise the company on future enhancements to the product and will work with Internet service providers to encourage adoption of the appliance by their customers, he said.
Schmidt said he was attracted to ELI because he believes the $199 hardware it sells will give home Internet users many of the same protections that corporations provide for their workers, such as integrated firewall, anti-virus, anti-spam and content filtering.
Schmidt will continue to sit on the board of directors of other security companies, including Qualys Inc. and Sygate Technologies Inc., he said.
Over the years, Schmidt has held many high-profile IT security jobs in both the U.S. government and the private sector.
In addition to serving as CSO of eBay and the Special Advisor for Cyber Security for the White House and chairman of the presidents Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, Schmidt has done stints as the international president of the ISSA (Information Systems Security Association), first president and co-founder of the IT-ISAC (Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center) and CSO of Microsoft Corp.