Avast appoints AI leader Michal Pěchouček as CTO

July 3, 2019

London-listed cyber security company Avast has appointed Michal Pěchouček to the position of Chief Technology Officer.

The renowned professor will take up his role on September 1st, the FTSE 250 technology firm said. 

Pěchouček joins from the highly regarded Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) where he is an established professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering leading the Department of Computer Science and the Artificial Intelligence Center, which he founded nearly two decades ago.

“Michal’s experience in academia and industry, his ability to connect ideas, people, and resources from different fields, and his track record in leading successful teams make him the ideal fit for our CTO role”, said Ondrej Vlcek, Avast’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer. 

“One of his core responsibilities will be to further our research in AI, machine learning, and cybersecurity. 

“He will also lead our core technology and R&D teams to support the work of our Threat Labs, and our big data and innovation teams. 

“I am excited to have him and his colleagues join us, helping us to forge a stronger collaboration with academia in this fast moving field of applied research.”

Worldwide recognition

Pěchouček is recognised worldwide for his contribution to research in computer science and AI applications and is an author of number of highly cited papers. 

He will bring to the role fresh insights based on his practical and academic experience, the company said. 

The Czech professor was the prime mover behind the creation of the AVAST Chair of Cybersecurity at CTU, and in 2019, he also established the AVAST funded joint CTU/Avast AI and Cybersecurity Laboratory and will continue to support this project in his role as Avast’s CTO. 

He will keep his professorship and will continue to run the university’s AI Center, Avast said. He will be joined by three leading fellow AI scientists, who will work to expand Avast’s understanding of how artificial intelligence can radically improve society’s ability to protect against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. 

These three scientists will continue to spend one day a week teaching and advising PhD students at the university in order to further reinforce the existing AVAST/CTU collaboration.

“This paves a new way for industry and academia to work together on some of the biggest and most exciting research-based challenges of our time”, said Michal Pěchouček commented. 

Commitment to research

“Avast’s commitment to funding ongoing and new research in AI and machine learning enables CTU to demonstrate its expertise in these fields, helping attract and retain the best and brightest minds. 

“Avast is recognised as the AI company in the field of cybersecurity,” said Pěchouček, “so I’m looking forward to getting started in my new role and together with engineers and scientists from AVAST and their colleagues from CTU to further develop AI to help people to be safe on the internet.”

Pěchouček previously had co-founded several technology start-ups including cyber security firm Cognitive Security (in 2013 acquired by CISCO), AgentFly, which specialises in controlling autonomous aircraft traffic and BlindSpot Solutions, which develops AI for industrial applications (in 2017 acquired by Adastra Group). 

He also directed the R&D Center of AI and Computer Security for CISCO and later worked as a strategist in the CISCO Security CTO office.

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