Amit Mital picked a heck of a time to take an appointed cybersecurity job at the White House.
The Seattle tech veteran earlier this year quietly departed his startup studio Kernel Labs and became a special assistant to the president and a senior director at the National Security Council in Washington D.C., where he is now based.
Mital declined to comment for this story when contacted by GeekWire. He took the White House role in April.
Mital has stepped down from his role leading Kernel Labs, a startup studio he founded in 2015. Kernel has helped spin out companies such as Trusted Key, which sold to Workday in 2019, and AnswerIQ, which sold to Freshworks last year.
Before launching Kernel, Mital was chief technology officer at security giant Symantec. He also spent two decades at Microsoft and was an early investor in Seattle-area companies including Redfin, OfferUp, SignalSense, AppSheet, SeekOut, Karat, and more.
This is Mital’s first government-related role.
Cybersecurity has become a priority for President Biden as foreign governments are linked to recent cyberattacks in the U.S. There have been high profile ransomware incidents this year affecting the meat industry and a major gas pipeline. The pandemic also provided new hacking opportunities as businesses shifted online and cyber criminals capitalized on the health and economic distractions.
Biden and Russia President Vladimir Putin made headlines last week after ransomware was a “major point of discussion” during their first in-person summit, ZDNet reported.
Goutham Sukumar, another former Symantec exec, is now CEO of Kernel Labs. He was also previously CEO of NitroDesk. Mital is no longer involved with Kernel.