Rod Beckstrom


Rod Beckstrom is a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor, well-known cybersecurity authority, internet leader and expert on organizational leadership. He was the founder, CEO and Chairman of C•ATS Software Inc., a publicly-listed NASDAQ risk management software company. Rod is the former President and CEO of ICANN and the founding Director of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Center, as well as Senior Advisor to the Director of National Intelligence. He is co-author of the best-selling bookThe Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. He is also a frequent international media commentator and public speaker.

Rod Today
Rod is Founder and CEO of BECKSTROM, which advises top global companies and institutions. BECKSTROM also shapes and builds technology companies. These include Stealth Security, a network security technology company where Rod serves as Co-founder and Chairman, and HitCheck, a concussion testing and database company where he serves as Executive Chairman. He also chairs the Advisory Board of the Stanford University Cybersecurity Policy Program (CISAC), which is an interdisciplinary joint effort between Stanford University and the Hoover Institution.

First U.S. Cybersecurity Chief
As founding Director of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Center, Rod was the Federal Government’s top cybersecurity coordinator, helping to integrate activities across key departments and agencies to combat the increasingly sophisticated threat to America’s interests at home and around the world.


Acclaimed author
Rod is the co-author of four books, including the critically acclaimed business book The Starfish and The Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, which has sold more than 100,000 copies in North America and many more around the world; it has been translated into sixteen languages. With a thought-provoking view of why leaderless organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and the Occupy movement often thrive while more structured and centralized organizations fail or decline, it lays out a new way of looking at leadership style, community and competitive strategy. Its reach has spanned the world, influencing top Pentagon generals, Tea Party activists, Arab Spring youth and countless CEOs.

Acclaimed author

Innovator at ICANN
Under Rod’s leadership as President and CEO of ICANN, the multinational institution that helps keep the global Internet secure, stable and unified, the Internet changed forever. His tenure was the springboard to a new era of innovation that enabled the use of Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic and other non-Latin language scripts, bridging the technical barrier that had prevented billions from coming online entirely in their primary language. Approval of new generic top-level domains under Rod’s watch laid the groundwork for hundreds of new potential domain endings – innovations like dot news and dot Dubai – that will soon come into use alongside the familiar dot com and dot net.

The global Internet was made more secure under his leadership with the addition of domain name system security extensions, or DNSSEC. He also moved ICANN firmly onto the global stage as a key player in Internet governance, negotiating and signing the Affirmation of Commitments and the IANA contract with the U.S. Government that made ICANN accountable to the world.

Technology thought leader
A preeminent thinker on technology issues, Rod was named one of PC World’s “Puppet Masters of the Internet” in April 2012 and included in “2012’s Digital Power 50” by The Hollywood Reporter. In 2011 he was named a “Tech Titan” by The Washingtonian magazine, and in 2010, one of the “25 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property” by the American Lawyer.

25 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property

Speaker and commentator
As a much sought-after expert on leadership, the Internet, cybersecurity and geopolitics, Rod has spoken at high-profile events in more than 40 countries for a wide range of organizations, including the White House, Stanford University, Harvard University, the World Economic Forum at Davos, Google, Microsoft, eBay, Infosys Technologies, BlackHat, DEFCON, Morgan Stanley, RSA, U.S. Department of Defense, World Government Summit in Dubai, Public Relations Society of Shanghai, Futurecom, Latin America Infosys, CIO Magazine Leadership Summit, Starbucks, TED, the Monaco Media Forum, Sogeti Consulting, The Hay Group, American Organization of Nurse Executives, United Business Media Group, the United Nations, the Aspen Institute, Tsinghua University, The Center for Strategic International Studies, Risk Magazine, and numerous Young Presidents’ Organizations (YPO), Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO) events around the globe.
Rod is a frequent and insightful media commentator on cybersecurity, organizational leadership and technology, with appearances on BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, PBS, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NPR, FOX and C-SPAN. Rod has been interviewed by Reuters, Xinhua, Associated Press, Kommersant, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Times of India, Bloomberg, Nikkei Shimbun, Gulf Times, O Globo, Handelsblatt, Le Monde and many more.
Economic theorist
Rod is a trained economist and has contributed to the development of several economic models. He developed “Beckstrom’s Law”, an economic model to establish the value of any network, a critical issue in determining the cost of cyber attacks and a key factor in establishing cyber risk management regimes. The model can help companies optimize their investments in cybersecurity, and can also be used to evaluate new Internet company business models.

After trading derivatives at Morgan Stanley, in 1985 he published the first universal valuation model for interest rate and currency swaps. In 1995 he co-authored An Introduction to VAR, the first book on the theory of value at risk.

Caring for the world at large
A committed philanthropist and environmentalist, Rod has contributed his vision, money and hard work to improving the world we live in.

Since 1993, he has been a trustee or advisory trustee of the Environmental Defense Fund, a respected non-partisan organization combatting global warming and environmental degradation. He co-chaired the Oceans and Climate Change Committees.
For seven years he served as a trustee and advisor to Jamii Bora Trust, an African micro-finance institution that helps more than 200,000 families across Africa by providing loans for micro-businesses, school fees, health and housing.

After witnessing the September 11 attacks in New York City, Rod spent three years building a global network of international CEOs who worked together to develop new pathways to peace. In 2003, just two years after 9/11, that network helped to initiate the historic Wagah border crossing that brought the India-Pakistan war to a peaceful conclusion.

Student days
Rod graduated from Stanford University with a BA with Honors and Distinction, and in 1987 earned an MBA. He served as Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the Associated Students of Stanford University and was a Fulbright Scholar in economics at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He was an exchange student in Germany in 1978-79.

Stanford University