Encryption & Key Management , Governance & Risk Management , Operational Technology (OT)

SSH Exec Rami Raulas Named Interim CEO in Finnish Shakeup

Teemu Tunkelo Left SSH Abruptly After License Sales Slump and Stock Price Nosedive
SSH Exec Rami Raulas Named Interim CEO in Finnish Shakeup
Rami Raulas, interim CEO, SSH Communications Security (Image: SSH Communications Security)

SSH Communications Security CEO Teemu Tunkelo left the Finnish cybersecurity vendor abruptly Monday after low license sales in late 2023 slowed the company's growth.

See Also: Webinar | 2023 OT Cybersecurity Year in Review: Lessons Learned from the Frontlines

No reason was given for Tunkelo's departure, which stems from an agreement between Tunkelo, 62, and SSH's board and will take effect immediately. Tunkelo will be replaced on an interim basis by Rami Raulas, 62, who joined SSH in 2016 from Roger Studio, where he has led its largest region - Europe, the Middle East and Africa - since 2021. SSH has begun the recruitment process for Tunkelo's permanent successor.

"I am honored and excited to lead a super team of highly competent and motivated specialists in cybersecurity," Raulas wrote on LinkedIn on Monday. "We stand to deliver great solutions to leading customers in Americas, EMEA and APAC, whether in finance, tech, government, retail and OT."

SSH's stock fell 0.045 euros - or 3.23% - to 1.35 euros per share in trading Monday, which is the lowest the company's stock has traded since Dec. 29, 2023. SSH announced the CEO change before the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange opened Monday, and the news came just four days after the company disclosed the drop in license sales in its fourth quarter financial results.

"I am honored and excited."
– Rami Raulas, interim CEO, SSH Communications Security

"The board of directors sincerely thanks Teemu Tunkelo for his contribution in transforming the company into a growing subscription business and ensuring our portfolio is competitive and future-proof," Chairman of the Board Henri Österlund said in a statement.

Changing of the Guard

Prior to joining SSH at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tunkelo spent more than four years as CTO of Voith, where he created a 2,000-person division that combines IT, automation and digital solutions. He also spent nearly two years as a board member of Nixu - Finland's largest cybersecurity consultancy - and 18 months as CEO of 300-person software company Enfo.

Raulas previously led SSH's Europe, Middle East and Africa business, which accounted for 56% of the company's revenue in 2022 and 54.3% of sales in 2023. As CEO, Raulas plans to keep growing SSH's passwordless and keyless zero trust offerings, post-quantum cryptography tools designed to hide sensitive data and secrets for decades, and OT products aimed at boosting productivity and ransomware defense.

"NIS2 legislation and ransomware attacks are driving immediacy to put digital gatekeeping in place for OT," Raulas wrote on LinkedIn.

What's New at SSH?

Over the past year at SSH, Tunkelo spearheaded the launch of a secure messaging offering to enable auditable business communications, built-out privileged access management capabilities to complement Microsoft Entra, and the transition to a recurring revenue model. Sales at SSH grew to 20.3 million euros in 2023, up 5.4% from 19.3 million euros in 2022, while losses jumped from 600,000 to 2.3 million euros.

"Huge fines for financial operators for not using proper approved secure/audited/recorded communications channels is driving demand for end-to-end encrypted and corporate controlled secure collaborations tools and processes," Raulas wrote on LinkedIn.

SSH's stock is down 0.47 euros - or 25.8% - since the company announced its earnings before the market opened Thursday. The company increased its subscription sales by 26.9% in 2023, but SSH's license sales fell by 54.7% during the same time period. In 2024, SSH expects revenue to grow - as well as positive cash flow from operating activities and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization.

The company employed 158 people at the end of 2023, up nearly 10% from a year earlier, according to SSH. Seventy-seven staffers worked in research and development; 60 worked in sales, marketing and customer service; and the remaining 21 worked in administration. SSH said its target market has changed significantly over the past year as Microsoft expanded beyond directory services into identity management.

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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