I learned this past Saturday that my good friend and Trend Micro CTO, Raimund Genes, passed away suddenly last week. Raimund was only 54.
If you were lucky enough to cross paths with Raimund, you probably share my profound sorrow at his passing. For those who never had the pleasure of a meeting, allow me to provide a few thoughts about him:
- I first met Raimund at an industry event where he was supposed to go through a PowerPoint presentation with me. Upon shaking my hand, he said something like, “Let’s skip the formalities of a canned presentation, go to the bar, get a drink, and just talk.” We did have a drink at the bar that day, but what I remember most was an hour of insightful and entertaining banter. He was both informal and informative simultaneously and we immediately connected.
- One of the things that I love about my job is that I get to speak with some of the smartest cybersecurity people—professionals, researchers, technology vendors, legislators, etc.—on a regular basis. Out of this exceptional population however, some people stand out. I call these folks my “beacons” in that I’m more engaged when I speak with them and I always feel like I learned something when the conversation ends. Raimund was one of my beacons.
- Raimund used his knowledge, charisma, and humor when delivering a presentation, and I found him to be one of the best presenters around. He entertained and educated at the same time, a rare gift. Heck, even his slides were often part of his overall shtick. Raimund could be jet lagged and the last presenter of the day and he still always seemed to wow any audience.
- Raimund didn’t have the public visibility of people like Dmitri Alperovitch (Crowdstrike), Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), or Kevin Mandia (FireEye) but boy did he know his stuff! Off the top of his head, he could tell you about the latest security breaches, new strains of malware, recently developed exploit kits, or hacker banter on the dark web. He was continually working on something with law enforcement organizations like the FBI or Interpol so he couldn’t always share details, but even his high-level cybercrime descriptions could make the hair on your neck stand up.
- Raimund was a true citizen of the world. It seemed like every time I saw him, he had just flown in from a trip that included a worldwide tour. This gave him a broad perspective on cybersecurity issues and strategies and a gift for sharing these experiences. He taught me about cybersecurity education in Korea, cybercrime in Brazil, and regulations in Europe. For example, last October he educated a group of American cybersecurity analysts on impending requirements around GDPR. Since this visit, many of his predictions have come true and his recommendations were always sound.
- In spite of his knowledge, CTO position, and global schedule, Raimund was completely down to earth and a straight shooter. As money and hyperbole flowed into the cybersecurity technology market, Raimund wasn’t afraid to call BS. He would always tell you what he thought and why without any hint of industry or organizational spin. And Raimund didn’t take himself too seriously. He could talk about polymorphic malware in one sentence and then leave you laughing with a joke in the next.
Raimund was the whole package—extremely smart, charming, energetic, fun, and engaging—which is why you couldn’t help but like him, appreciate his knowledge, and enjoy his company. He was a great ambassador for the cybersecurity professional diaspora.
My heart goes out to all of Trend Micro. Raimund was a spiritual and irreplaceable leader at the company who will be sorely missed.
As sad as I am about his passing, I will always think of Raimund with a smile on my face. Rest in peace my friend—you made the cybersecurity community and this little planet a better place while you were here.