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Digital Guardian's Blog

Digital Guardian Mourns the Passing of Chief Technology Officer, Salo Fajer



A great executive and friend, who held family above all else. Salo and I worked together since 2004, and working at any company without him would have been inconceivable for me. Salo’s drive to excellence and can-do spirit was central to the Digital Guardian turn-around and he was a major reason we have seen such incredible growth at the company. He will be missed greatly.

All of us at Digital Guardian mourn the unexpected loss of our dear friend and colleague Salo Fajer. Salo joined us as CTO after working in the same capacity with me for five years at Nitro Security as well as two years at McAfee (Intel Security) following their acquisition of Nitro. He was one of the most decent, honest and intelligent people I have ever met. His dedication and sincerity touched all who knew him. Past colleagues have reached out in numbers, which reflects the impact Salo had as friend, mentor, trusted colleague and technologist. The sadness we all feel is visceral.

As difficult of a loss this is for me, and all of us at DG, personally and professionally, the loss of Salo as a husband and father is gut wrenching. He adored his wife and two children. I spent countless days on the road with Salo, wherever business took us. He never once complained. What he did was make every effort to include his kids in creative ways. From allowing his kids to follow his travels with map applications, to taking pictures and sharing them, to carrying over a car trip game of spying yellow cars with his daughter to anywhere in the world. He was rare in that he was a completely dedicated executive who also managed to never miss an important activity with his children.

He will be missed greatly.

Please join us in remembering a wonderful man. Share your thoughts and tributes of Salo in the comments section below this post.

Thank You.

Ken

Update 27 July 2016: Digital Guardian has established an education fund for Salo's children, Sarah and Jacob Fajer. Learn more about our fund and contribute to the GoFundMe campaign here.

Update 26 July 2016: Salo’s obituary, synagogue and burial service details have been published online. Visit Adams-Green Funeral Home for more details.

Ken Levine

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Ken Levine

Ken Levine is president and chief executive officer at Digital Guardian. Ken has over 20 years of startup and business leadership experience, primarily focused in technology and information security. Prior to Digital Guardian, Ken was SVP and general manager at McAfee and chief executive officer and chairman at NitroSecurity.

Connie Stack, C... (not verified) | July 25, 2016 7:05 pm

Our very first meeting was when you walked up to the Digital Guardian booth at RSA 2014 and requested a product demo wearing your McAfee badge. I was having none of that, no demo's for competitors! It wasn't until you informed me you were Ken Levine's wing-man that I relented - I even buttered you up since we wanted Ken Levine and his team to join DG ;-). I'm grateful you were part of that team. In the last 2+ years we have agreed and disagreed as we all charted a new direction for the company. You knew your stuff, that was undeniable. But what most impressed me about you was your style - kind, calm and respectful. You taught how to make an important point without raising your voice (and I needed to learn that and I still need to practice that). You and I were often the last to leave the office in Waltham, as we both aimed to avoid the Rt. 128 traffic, so we would frequently have a chat about anything from work to politics, but mostly about your children, Sarah and Jacob. You were so proud of them, you glowed when you talked about them and I hope they know that. I'll miss those chats and I will miss you.

Robert Gutcho (not verified) | July 25, 2016 8:11 pm

Although I am relatively new to Digital Guardian, I have known Salo and his family for several years. As mutual members of the same congregation based in northern Virginia, Salo presented himself as a warm, friendly person willing to strike up a stimulating conversation. During my interview process back in March, I'll never forget how Salo set aside time on a Sunday evening to tell me all about Digital Guardian. Salo's intense passion and ethusiasm for Digital Guardian was quite apparent. Needless to say, Salo sold me on the benefits of joining such a dynamic organization.

Heather Howe (not verified) | July 25, 2016 9:22 pm

My heart is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of this wonderful man. I too had the pleasure of working with Salo for many years. He always had a smile on his face which was infectious, you couldn't help but smile around him. My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. May you find peace and comfort now and forever.

Angiras Koorapa... (not verified) | July 25, 2016 11:27 pm

I am shocked and saddened at the passing of Salo Fajer, my friend and colleague since our days at Nitrosecurity. Salo was intelligent, patient, a consensus builder and a consummate product visionary who could transform a nascent idea into a world class product. I have immense respect for Salo and cannot imagine that he would be taken so early. I offer my heartfelt condolences and prayers to Salo's family, friends and colleagues.

May his soul rest in peace!

AK

David Osborne (not verified) | July 26, 2016 8:08 am

Many prayers for Salo. I am happy to have called you friend. RIP
Prayers for his family in this difficult time.

Simon Hunt (not verified) | July 26, 2016 9:24 am

Salo and I worked together as CTO's at McAfee. We shared the frustrations of integrating agile startups into the glacial pace that seems to consume large enterprises, but also shared the excitement of having such a huge backer and the number of talented mentors available to us.

I'll miss his enthusiasm, his calm professionalism, and his deep insights.

Salo my friend, if you're still reading from beyond, answer me this - why oh why did you pick Pascal?

Jim Hegedusich (not verified) | July 26, 2016 10:43 am

So sad to hear this news. I worked with Salo at Cabletron Systems/Enterasys Networks. Salo was a true professional and was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. My deepest condolences to the Fajer family and his friends.

Kevin Belcher (not verified) | July 26, 2016 11:00 am

Rest in peace. Always a friendly, kind person when I was working with him at Nitro. The CyberSecurity world lost one of the great ones. Prayers going out for his family.

Thomas Fischer (not verified) | July 26, 2016 11:53 am

Hearing of Salo's passing was tragic. As written in the The Epic of Gilgamesh, "What is this sleep which holds you now? You are lost in the dark and cannot hear me."

He was an incredibly attentive and interesting person. His grasp of technology and innovations in the security space made for interesting and thoughtful discussions.

I am sadden for his family as well; as Ken described he had a great attachment to them. I remember sharing and discussing with him the latest micro-drone project he was planning and how proud he was of his daughter's skills in that domain.

A big regret for me is to not be able to spend more time with him and continue to learn and share on all tech matters.

“In perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale” -- Catullus

Stu Elefant (not verified) | July 26, 2016 12:17 pm

Jon Oltsik and I met often with Salo in his Nitro, McAfee, and DG days. He's a true inspiration who always had a smile on his face. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Salo's family and colleagues.

mike fey (not verified) | July 26, 2016 12:51 pm

I first met salo when we acquired Nitro. From the second I met him, I knew this was a guy that understood his customer, his product and the market. As time progressed I learned how caring, patient and insightful he was. I enjoyed every conversation I had with him and consider myself lucky to have worked with him. When Ken sent me the horrible news on text, I was in a meeting. I glanced at it, quickly replied and tried to compartmentalize it for dealing with at a later time. Try as I might, I kept thinking about how this loyal, brilliant friend of mine was no more. I always assumed my paths with him would cross again and realizing that they would not was more than I could handle. I was reminded of how some of the special people we work with become family over time. To honor Salo, I am going to make a concerted effort to make sure my extended family knows how important they are just in case our paths never cross again.

To his family,
I had the pleasure of having a one on one dinner with Salo. During that dinner the discussion moved to his family. He spoke with a passion and love for his family that was inspiring and infectious. His love was very clear for you as well as his pride. I can’t imagine loosing someone like him from my direct family and my heart goes out to you.

Michael Davis (not verified) | July 26, 2016 12:52 pm

As a fellow CTO, and DG partner, I had the opportunity to work with Salo on multiple technology-related initiatives and was impressed with his technical knowledge, architectural approach to problem-solving, and most importantly his easy demeanor. Within the world of technology, many CTOs have egos and are not willing to mentor or share. Salo was the opposite. He was always open, collaborative, and excited about technology.

I was sad when I heard the new of his passing; however, after some thought, I am also a bit excited to know we have such a talented technologist watching over us.

Charley Levine (not verified) | July 26, 2016 12:56 pm

Salo has left behind so many who loved him, respected him, admired him and genuinely liked him. I met Salo through Ken many years ago, and instantly recognized him to be the kind, intelligent and trustworthy person that he was. A rare find in this world. The fact that Ken loved him like a brother endeared him to me even more. What a fine human being we have lost. With so many gifts to impart on so many, his time here was too short. My heart goes out to his beautiful wife and children. He loved you all to the depths of his being. May Salo live on through you and your good deeds, kindness, intelligence and passion. He will be sorely missed. God bless you in your time of mourning and forever more.

Chris Lee (not verified) | July 26, 2016 1:30 pm

Salo was my friend for over 20 years. He was a wonderful man, a family man and a gentle soul. My thoughts continue to gravitate towards Sue, Jacob and Sarah. They loved their Dad and Husband. I am shocked and just very sad. The true test of a Man in life can be seen through the eyes of his family. I lost a friend. They lost a fantastic Father and husband. Peace my friend.

Ally Pike (not verified) | July 26, 2016 2:44 pm

My first interactions with Salo when he came to DG was disagreeing on compatibility of the product and what we need to do. I had no idea that only months later he would convince me to come work on his team to lead a Compatibility Team in QA! We didn't always agree but that was the great part about working for him, he didn't want you to agree just to agree, he liked to take in your feedback and would make a decision that in the end we all felt was the best decision. He always talked fondly of his family and when I commented how I wasn't sure how long our family road trips with my kids would continue he told me to keep planning them and they would keep going! He will be missed!

Peter Joseph (not verified) | July 26, 2016 3:26 pm

I worked with Salo at NitroSecurity, what a warm and welcoming Executive, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and all that knew and loved him.

Peter

Darrin Coulson (not verified) | July 26, 2016 3:51 pm

RIP Salo,
Met Salo when I was at Netronome in 2011 and worked with him when he was @ Nitro and later he helped me get into McAfee post acquisition. Seeing him @ RSA was an annual highlight. Sad day. Prayers out to family, friends, colleagues.

Christel Frantz (not verified) | July 26, 2016 3:54 pm

I am very shocked and dismayed that Salo is no longer on this earth. My family and his family were close growing up together in Maryland. Not only will he be missed by his family and friends, he will be missed by people like me who knew him from grade school and respected his manner. He used to play with my youngest brother and his sister and I were grade school friends. I am so sorry the world will be without Salo. Please let his family know how much he will be missed. He grew into a talented man and certainly was very family oriented. I am sorry Sara, Jacob and Sue that you will feel his loss the most. Salo recently lost his father who was also very talented and bright. It is a shock to his immediate and extended family. Please let them know I care. And please let them know I offer any support that I can provide.

Kevin Norr (not verified) | July 26, 2016 3:57 pm

I am very sorry to hear about Salo's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and all of you that knew and worked with him through the years. I very much enjoyed working with Salo during my years at NitroSecurity and McAfee and he will be missed.

Gregory Funaro (not verified) | July 26, 2016 4:38 pm

In the short time I've worked at DG I got to know Salo both professionally and personally. We loved talking about European history, TV shows, and which video games he should get for Jacob. He always had a deep love for his family and I could see that through the way he spoke about them. I was proud to know Salo and he will be in my thoughts and prayers. My deepest condolences to his family.

Jaimen Hoopes (not verified) | July 26, 2016 6:21 pm

It is difficult to have meaningful thoughts when you've lost such a good friend, but to say it simply; Salo will be missed. I will always cherish memories such as movie nights after a long days of meetings. Airports and hotels had become our second home and it took the sting off, just a bit, from being away from family so often. Or sharing wardrobe items because somehow something important didn't make it into the travel bag.

One memory that stands out is with Chris B. and Salo during a road trip in southern California. After a long day of meetings in Los Angeles we were all quite hungry, but Salo really wanted to get to San Diego for the evening where he planned to treat us to a really nice meal. We crawled through traffic for 4 hours, passing countless restaurants. At the site of each fast food restaurant, Chris was making very obvious comments about stopping and grabbing something quick to eat. However, Salo was sure we were getting close to the freeway and would be well on our way from there. After many hours in barely moving traffic, and some very grumbly tummies, traffic cleared and we were moving through the black night at freeway speeds at last, but with no city or restaurants in sight. Thats when Salo earnestly says; "We should pull over for a bite to eat...I'm getting pretty hungry." This statement...with no cities in sight, after hours of hunger and having passed the last restaurant for miles, caused all three of us to start laughing uncontrollably the rest of the trip to San Diego. His laugh was intoxicating, causing round after round of laughter. A cherished and unforgettable experience that highlights how wonderful Salo was to be around.

Of course it was not all fun and games but by watching Salo through the hard times I saw how he was able to handle very difficult situations and individuals with grace and patience. He was a master of defusing situations by bringing perspective and rational thinking to the conversation. Salo is truly a pillar to our industry.

Salo had direct impact on me and my family and we are blessed for the efforts he put into the businesses we worked on together. For that, I will always be grateful. Few people make such an impact on so many, he was a great mentor and example to those who came in contact with him. Only having met his wife and kids one time, I feel like I know them personally because he talked of them so often and with such pride. He truly loved them with all his heart and he proudly shared their stories and successes with everyone he met! He will be missed more than I am able to express.

Idan Tendler (not verified) | July 26, 2016 7:28 pm

Salo was a unique leader in the security industry. Humble, knowledgeable, warm, excited and professional, and you can spot it after 10 minutes coffee in RSA conference or in McAfee call. I loved our conversations, and I will sure miss him. My thoughts are with the family and friends. Salo was a true Mensch and he will be missed.

Doug Bailey (not verified) | July 26, 2016 9:10 pm

*It has been difficult for those of us that have known Salo for a long time over these last couple days. The thought of Salo not being around us anymore is a very difficult thing to accept and incredibly sad. The world is just a lesser place without him.

I've known and worked with Salo for over 10 years and probably had as many arguments and heated discussions with him as anyone I've known. In the 1st year after we came into Verdasys, we spent pretty much 4 evenings a week arguing about company issues, direction and products. It sometimes got pretty heated, but we always agreed to disagree and then called home to our families. I listened many times as Salo went through each family member providing guidance and support. We typically would spend the rest of the evening talking about family and kids with an occasional political discussion. Looking back I am very grateful to him for providing that friendship during a time when we were both away from home 5 days a week.

We'll miss you Salo!!

Jeremy Conway (not verified) | July 26, 2016 11:51 pm

It saddens me tremendously to hear of Salo's passing. Salo was a friend and a mentor to me back in the NitroSecurity days. His ability to stay humble and calm to defuse any situation was one of the many great qualities I will always admire. His love for his family was limitless, as I remember many meetings where his outlook reminder would sound and he would pause everything to jump on a video chat with his family to hear about their day and share in their joys. He was always super excited about planning family get aways and sharing those short get aways with us over our late night strategy sessions and dinner meetings. I will miss him greatly and I hope he knew how much I appreciated and respected him not only as a professional mentor, but as a all around outstanding man for which we should all strive to be like! RIP Salo Fajer, as you will be missed by many and know that you left a mark on many of us.

sachin nayyar (not verified) | July 27, 2016 12:14 am

Extremely sad to hear this news.. an absolute gem of a guy - I spent time with Salo when he was with Nitro and then again with Mcafee. . what a great guy..

My condolesences to Salo's family. You will be in our prayers

sachin

Tom Bryant (not verified) | July 27, 2016 11:11 am

I just heard this news and wanted to say Salo was an amazing gentleman that will be sorely missed. Prayers from the Bryant clan for the friends, family and coworkers

Tom Bryant

Gatewood "Woody... (not verified) | July 27, 2016 1:49 pm

So many wonderful things have been said of Salo and all of them are true. His grace under fire, his friendliness, his pride for his family, kindness, graciousness and more. I have many memories of him, all of which I will cherish. His personal and professional impact on my life is too large to measure.

I have countless hours working with him over many years. Watching him work with customers, partners and coworkers, discuss the next feature we had to have, debate priorities and more. Despite all of that and all the travel involved, it was clear that family was his priority. Many evenings in Idaho I have watched him take a break and call his family; at times having each of us wave to his kids over a video call. No matter how busy we were, there was always time to talk to and about family. Salo was proud of his.

Salo made time to talk to everyone on the team. I had many lunches and dinners with him over the NitroSecurity and McAfee years. My last call with him not too long ago we joked of the next lunch which was past due. How could we know time was quickly running out.

Despite the loss I feel, I can at this point only think of his family and try to imagine the loss they must feel. I offer my thoughts and prayers to them as they grieve and try to deal with the loss of a husband, father, son and brother.

The world is definitely a better place for his existence, but yet a little darker for his passing. Goodbye my friend. I will miss you.

Dhruv Gramopadhye (not verified) | July 27, 2016 4:32 pm

I will always remember him for his selfless volunteering in our RCMS Team America Rocketry Challenge team. He was very involved and pleasant, easily approachable and friendly. We will all mourn his passing. Our team would never have passed the tryout without his support. He has played a positive role in my life.

My condolences to Mr. Fajer's family.
- Dhruv Gramopadhye

Mark Goodman (not verified) | July 27, 2016 5:06 pm

I met Salo many years ago when he was at Nitro. He was a great colleague and a warm, thoughtful person. My condolences to his wife, children and his DG family.

Mark Goodman

David Pettigrew (not verified) | July 27, 2016 8:51 pm

I had the pleasure of knowing Salo he impacted the lives of so many in such positive ways. I will miss his kind heart, his calm demeanor and positive outlook. I'm truly honored to have met this great man. My thoughts and prayers are with the family .

Trevor Welsh (not verified) | July 27, 2016 9:45 pm

I had the pleasure of working with Salo at McAfee. My first impression having heard him speak was "Wow. This guy gets technology, and people". Spending more time with him, I respected him increasingly both as a professional, and as a person. He truly empathized with people, and had an uncommon knack for putting himself in other people's shoes. I had an opportunity to sit down with Salo for a lunch, and we just kept talking. I then realized he also had an uncommon knack for being an executive and understanding the way a business thinks. Over a few months, I reached out to him in this capacity. Each time, if I sent him an email, he'd tell me it was easier to talk over the phone. Somehow, with a seemingly endless schedule he found time. Salo was an uncommon business talent, and an even rarer personal talent. He will be missed very much.

Kenneth Russell (not verified) | July 27, 2016 9:58 pm

I first met Salo many years ago when he came to work at Nitro as a Sales Engineer. Because of his outstanding ability to take complex problems and make them look simple, he was promoted to Chief Technology Officer/Program Manager. I was then the development manager and came to know Salo very well. I was devastated to hear of his passing. Knowing Salo was to love him and the time I spent working and playing with him made me admire him even more. Words cannot express my love for him and all of the Nitro team. He was indeed an example of how to be a good husband, father and friend. I will miss his infectious smile and his warm and kind personality. Even at his worst he always had a smile and looked at the bright side of things. Salo REALLY loved his family. Whenever he came to Idaho, he would always make time at the end of the day to Skype with his children.

There are a few special people you meet in life for whom you would drop everything to pay your respects. Salo was one of those people! He will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ken Russell (not verified) | July 27, 2016 10:01 pm

I first met Salo many years ago when he came to work at Nitro as a Sales Engineer. Because of his outstanding ability to take complex problems and make them look simple, he was promoted to Chief Technology Officer/Program Manager. I was then the development manager and came to know Salo very well. I was devastated to hear of his passing. Knowing Salo was to love him and the time I spent working and playing with him made me admire him even more. Words cannot express my love for him and all of the Nitro team. He was indeed an example of how to be a good husband, father and friend. I will miss his infectious smile and his warm and kind personality. Even at his worst he always had a smile and looked at the bright side of things. Salo REALLY loved his family. Whenever he came to Idaho, he would always make time at the end of the day to Skype with his children.

There are a few special people you meet in life for whom you would drop everything to pay your respects. Salo was one of those people! He will always hold a special place in my heart.

Rita Palmeiro (not verified) | July 28, 2016 9:46 am

Very sad times at Digital Guardian. Extremely hard and painful times for Salo's friends and family.
Knowing very well what a sudden and expected loss means, I truly wish that his family heals from this tragic event.
LOVE is all we have and take from this life. Let the LOVE surpass the pain; let the LOVE ignite happy memories and let the LOVE that Salo had for his family and friends be here now to comfort you.

My condolences to Salo's wife and children, extended family and close friends.

Salo will be missed in this side of the pond

Bill Virtue (not verified) | July 28, 2016 11:41 am

I am deeply saddened to hear this news. My deepest sympathies to Salo’s family and the team at Digital Guardian. Salo was indeed that gentle kind soul that all have shared. I worked with Salo at Cabletron / Enterasys and then for Salo at Nitro Security. He was one of the nicest people you would ever meet. Rest in Pease my friend.

Mr Dieter Hinkelmann (not verified) | July 28, 2016 12:03 pm

Sad to have a successful person leave so sudden, what a success he had in life and with people, wish my condolence to his family and close friends.
Dieter

Dan Sarel (not verified) | July 28, 2016 12:45 pm

This is very sad news. I really enjoyed all my interactions with Salo - he was a unique and special person in our industry. Will be missed. תנצב"ה (May his soul be bound in the bundle of life).

Glenn Langstrom (not verified) | July 28, 2016 6:41 pm

When a Hall of Fame athlete passes, you often hear teammates talk about how “he was an even better person than athlete”. For all the many network/security industry, “work” and company related accolades and praise Salo so richly deserves, what I’ll always remember is that Salo was a Hall of Fame quality person, friend, husband and father above all else. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Alex Rukundo (not verified) | July 29, 2016 6:17 am

May the Almighty Rest his soul in eternal peace and God Bless his family.

Leslie Alwiel (not verified) | July 29, 2016 8:11 am

Salo was a wonderful person and I enjoyed our brief time working together at Domain Technologies. He always had a kind word and was willing to help out in anyway he could. I very much enjoyed our philosophical discussions as well. My thoughts are with his family. He will be missed.

Mark Townsend (not verified) | July 29, 2016 1:11 pm

I remember working with Salo at Cabletron/Enterasys 'back in the day'. A bright guy, full of energy and a passion for the work.

I'm grateful for the time we worked together, and sad that I won't be running into him at the next conference.

My condolences to his family, his friends, and his colleagues.

Shannon Downey (not verified) | July 29, 2016 4:59 pm

I just heard of Salo's passing and I am deeply saddened by it. I only worked with him at DG for a short time but he was unbelievably intelligent, professional, compassionate and had a great sense of humor. I am truly sorry for Salo's family and the DG family but I am forever grateful that Ken was able to bring him into the company when I was there so I had the pleasure of working with him for a few short months. My thoughts and prayers are with Salo's family and friends.

Sue Fajer (not verified) | August 02, 2016 11:41 am

Dear Friends,
If only you knew how much your comments and support have helped Jacob, Sarah and me this week. We are so grateful to have this community of Salo’s friends and colleagues, and we’ve been talking about how this outpouring of love has and will continue to help us each day. Reading over and over how Salo incorporated Jacob and Sarah throughout his work day is something we will cherish forever. I will never be able to express our appreciation adequately but please know your comments are printed and in a book for us to treasure and look at whenever we want – and that is very often!

Salo loved, loved, loved working with you all. He didn’t mind debating a topic or strategy and taught Jacob and Sarah how important it is to know your subject and respectfully argue your point. He printed an organization chart of each company so we would know who he was talking about. After Jacob and Sarah were familiar with each person/position, they would provide Daddy with “advice”! Salo also brought back many fun and entertaining stories like when Ken sent a robot into offices or areas looking for candy. Sarah built one that now roams our house asking for food.

And to Ken and Mo….what can I say? I don’t know how you stayed so strong at the funeral because you love Salo like we love Salo. Your words were beautiful, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable. Thank you for being a part of the tribute to Salo. He thought of you both as brothers.

Love,
Sue, Jacob and Sarah

Rocky (not verified) | August 03, 2016 4:44 pm

I've had a long standing friendship and professional relationship with Salo for many years, whether through Nitro, McAfee, DG or just as peers in the industry. Without exception I left every single conversation with Salo as a better professional and a better person. Watching him think, consider carefully, expertly navigate difficult conversations and always find a path forward was enlightening amd motivating to me.

Salo's impact on me was something I'll always be appreciative of both personally and professionally.

Thank you my friend for your guiadance, trust and respect. We all miss you dearly.

Rocky

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