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NSO Chairman quits company amidst ongoing turmoil

NSO Chairman quits company amidst ongoing turmoil

Asher Levy, who served as Chairman since April 2020, has left the embattled company behind the Pegasus spyware

Meir Orbach | 14:27  25.01.2022
NSO Chairman Asher Levy resigned from his role at the embattled company earlier this month, Calcalist has learned. Levy was the CEO of Orbotech from 2013 to 2019 and was appointed to his role at NSO in April 2020. Levy’s name no longer appears on the company’s website.

“I was appointed by Novalpina Capital and as soon as they left I notified BRG of my wish to leave,” Levy told Calcalist. It is important to note that the fact that Novalpina placed Levy in the position was not stated when it was announced by the company. The new NSO Chairman will be Finbarr O'Connor, Chief Investment Officer and head of BRG Asset Management.
Outgoing NSO Chairman Asher Levy. Photo: Amit Shaal Outgoing NSO Chairman Asher Levy. Photo: Amit Shaal Outgoing NSO Chairman Asher Levy. Photo: Amit Shaal

U.S. consulting firm Berkeley Research Group (BRG) was selected to take over management of the private equity fund which controls NSO last July following an internal dispute between the founding partners of Novalpina Capital that previously controlled NSO’s board.

NSO has come under intense scrutiny over the past week after it was revealed that Israel Police used its Pegasus spyware to track Israeli citizens. Levy is not directly connected to the recent scandal or those that have tarnished its reputation over recent years.  

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Apple filed a lawsuit against NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and targeting of the U.S. in November of last year. Apple was the latest in a string of companies and governments to come after NSO, the maker of the Pegasus hacking tool that watchdog groups say targeted human rights workers and journalists. Earlier that month, U.S. officials placed the company on a trade blacklist. NSO has also faced either legal action or criticism from Microsoft, Meta, Alphabet and Cisco. NSO is allegedly involved in circumventing security for products made by these companies and selling that circumvention in the form of hacking tools to foreign governments.

NSO said in response to the report: “Asher Levy was a Chairman on behalf of Novalpina Capital. Naturally when a new fund came in his tenure also came to an end, and BRG, which replaced Novalpina, appointed a new Chairman on its behalf.”
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