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Udi Mokady has quietly built one of the most valuable software firms in the state

Top Baker aide follows him to NCAA; Paul Sacco plans to bow out; Foley Hoag sets up shop in Denver; Another car dealer gets into the music game.

CyberArk executive chairman Udi Mokady.Chris Morris

After quietly building CyberArk into one of the state’s most valuable software companies, Udi Mokady is getting some help at the top.

The Newton-based firm announced on Feb. 9 that Mokady would become executive chairman, while chief operating officer Matthew Cohen gets promoted to the chief executive’s job.

Mokady will continue to focus on customer and reseller relationships as well as strategy and acquisitions. But as a cofounder, he realized 18 years is a long time to have the same chief executive.

“You can’t be the CEO forever, right?” Mokady said. “I was thinking about what is my endgame as a founder who wants this company to be not just about him but also built to last. I wanted to eventually become executive chairman … where I can stay involved but not have to run the day-to-day.”


Good thing for Mokady that his successor was right next door. Mokady originally hired Cohen away from PTC in 2019. As he took on more responsibilities, Mokady realized Cohen would be an ideal CEO.

CyberArk pioneered a field of cybersecurity called privileged access management. It involves safeguards around the “super-user” accounts in an organization — the people in IT who control technology settings for everyone else. After launching in Israel, Mokady chose the Boston area for the headquarters about two decades ago. Big selling points: the local tech workforce and proximity to the financial hub of New York City.

In recent years, through a series of acquisitions, CyberArk has broadened in two important ways. Most growth is coming through subscription revenue, and it now offers protections for all kinds of user accounts, not just computer geeks in the IT department.

CyberArk today has more than 8,000 customers and about 2,750 employees, including 300 in Newton. Revenue grew last year by 18 percent, to nearly $600 million, though it still lost money. The company’s stock has been relatively steady, valuing it at $6 billion, even as many other software firms plummeted for much of the past year.


This fact did not go unnoticed during CyberArk’s most recent earnings call. Several analysts praised Mokady for the success. One questioned whether it can be sustained.

Mizuho Securities analyst Gregg Moskowitz told Mokady that CyberArk is one of the few software vendors that executed at a high level throughout 2022.

“Many investors wonder if you can continue to defy gravity,” Moskowitz added.

To which Mokady promptly replied: “Yeah, I would say that we’re extremely confident.”

In this March 18, 2015, file photo, an NCAA logo was displayed at center court at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball second- and third-round games. Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Buckley teams up with Baker again

Tim Buckley just left one Baker administration. He’ll soon be joining another.

Buckley, who most recently was Charlie Baker’s chief of staff in the governor’s office, is headed to the NCAA — along with his former boss.

He starts with Baker on March 1. Baker will be president, running the Indianapolis-based organization that oversees college sports. Buckley will be senior vice president of external affairs, leading government relations and communications. It’s a job that’s similar to the role of senior advisor that he held for most of the eight years Baker was in office.

Like Baker, Buckley isn’t moving to Indiana. They’ll both make frequent visits to the HQ and will spend plenty of time in Washington, where the NCAA has an office; Baker will make it a point of visiting member schools.

Buckley said he first discussed the idea when Baker was considering the NCAA gig. “He said, ‘If I do it, I’d like you to think about coming with me,’” Buckley said. “It was really out of the blue.”


Buckley said he didn’t have much time to think about his next career move while at the State House. But it was tough to say no to this one.

“It’s a one in a million chance to work around sports, and to take what I learned working with the media, stakeholders, elected officials, and apply it to a completely new arena, an exciting one, college sports,” Buckley said. “It was really hard to pass up.”

Longtime lodging lobbyist plans check-out date

Paul Sacco probably didn’t expect to make his retirement announcement at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority board meeting on Thursday. But board chairman John McDonnell didn’t give him much of a choice.

“Do you have an announcement to make?” McDonnell said.

Sacco replied with “No, not really,” before sheepishly conceding that he would be stepping down as chief executive of the Massachusetts Lodging Association this year. (The lodging industry gets a seat on the MCCA board.)

“Congratulations on that decision,” McDonnell replied.

We caught up with Sacco later and learned he expects to leave by July. He will have been the chief executive for 16 years. He had already given his notice to the MLA board, which is in the process of deciding how best to fill Sacco’s shoes.

Sacco isn’t planning any fancy trips to Tuscany yet: He still has a busy slate ahead, one that includes analyzing industry-related bills filed at the State House and tracking the state’s distribution of $75 million to hotels from a relief package approved last year by the Legislature. It’s apparently not enough: Sacco also plans to use his remaining time to advocate for more money for a sector that is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.


“We’re coming out of the tunnel,” Sacco said in an interview. “But we haven’t quite come out yet.”

Foley Hoag's office at 155 Seaport Blvd. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Go west, they said

To expand in a particular industry, why not recruit the best person out there to help?

That’s what Foley Hoag managing partner Jim Bucking says his firm is doing by bringing Chris Mosley on board last year, from the law firm of Sherman & Howard, along with Brooke Yates. Both are experts in the field of insurance recovery, a specialty of Foley Hoag’s, and have joined the firm as partners. As a result, Foley Hoag announced last week that it has opened an office in Denver, where the two lawyers work. Foley Hoag now has five locations, including offices in its hometown of Boston, New York, Washington, and Paris.

Foley Hoag has wanted to open in California, too, and that idea is still in play, Bucking said. For now, the Denver office will serve as Foley Hoag’s foothold in the West.

“We think it’s going to open up a lot of new opportunities for us in the middle of the country and the western part of the country,” Bucking said. “It’s harder to expand from a couple thousand miles away.”


Dagesse plants a flag at Fenway

Move over, Ernie Boch. There’s another auto mogul breaking into the music business — and it’s someone Boch is quite familiar with.

DCD Automotive Holdings, led by Chris Dagesse and his father Dan Dagesse, just signed a multiyear sponsorship deal with Fenway Sports Management to be the title sponsor of the Fenway Concert Series held at Fenway Park every summer. It’s part of a broader marketing push, to promote DCD’s relatively new Nucar brand. Cloud-storage firm Wasabi Technologies is also involved; the series will be known as the Nucar Fenway Concert Series Presented by Wasabi Technologies.

Dagesse and his dad have built a New England auto empire over the past decade. The two started DCD about nine years ago to acquire Boch’s Honda and Toyota dealerships. They now have nearly 30 dealerships under the Nucar/DCD flag. (Boch, meanwhile, sponsors the Wang and Shubert theaters in Boston and also founded the Music Drives Us charity.)

DCD takes over for the Plainridge Park Casino, the previous concert sponsor at Fenway Park. DCD has seen success with a similar sponsorship at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, N.H. That made the opportunity at Fenway more interesting for Dagesse to pursue.

So if you see him at the Pink or Zac Brown Band shows this summer, say hello. Who knows? He might just offer you a deal.

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.