Feast your eyes on the Georgetown Center on Privacy and Technology’s tribute to its “Foot Soldiers,” former Chairman and CEO of Expedia, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, former chairman of Symantec Inc. and current director of Omnicom Group Inc. , Alan Paller . He is gone at 76. As part of an executive suite that saw countless legends move on over the years, Alan Paller became a national voice on cybersecurity when he was Chairman and CEO of Symantec. He was retiring in 2010 but returned to that post three years later, where he worked alongside his very close friend Billy May, also the former CEO of Symantec. I last interviewed Alan Paller in 2012 in our Wealth in Transition seminar, where he explained how the United States should face its cyberwarfare threat, even if some in Washington want to avoid it.
Paller, whose family moved to the United States from Germany before he was born, published a book on emerging Asia in 2012 titled Where China Stands: Defending Democracy From the Belt and Road Initiative . This was no random itinerary. Primarily, Paller saw his eldest son receive a Master’s degree in Asia Studies from East Asia Institute, where he was a Fulbright Research Fellow. Next, he was instrumental in helping faculty members provide master classes on cybercrime to build resources for Asian governments.
As someone who has been involved in efforts in cyberspace for more than 40 years, Alan Paller has fought a dangerous battle in China, currently the highest volume threat. His account of his experiences and the end of the Cold War in East Asia is instructive to the United States, but more than anything, it’s the testimony of the children who grew up in China that stirs me, and drives me to keep on fighting.