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New Wire CEO: "I am very passionate about digital sovereignty"

Wires new CEO Benjamin Schilz sits down to answer questions about his vision for Wire, lessons from companies he founded and why he is excited for the future of secure communications.

Hauke Gierow
Hauke Gierow

Mar 13, 2024

Hi Benjamin! What does Secure Messaging mean to you?

Of course, I want my private information to stay private when communicating with friends and family – like almost everybody else. However, during my career, I saw that many companies and official bodies still communicate with a low degree of security, using off-the-shelf tools integrated into their operating systems, for example. This is where I see the biggest opportunity to make an impact around the world – because every organization should have a plan for securing their communications. And this is exactly where Wire has a great product offering and deep expertise.

Why are you excited to join Wire?

As I said, I think Wire has an incredible mission. But the mission would be nothing without the team. Over the last few weeks, I had the chance to engage with Wire’s mission-driven team on all hierarchy levels. I feel inspired by those interactions and am thankful to be working with this exceptional group of people.

But there is one more thing. Wire has a history of being at the forefront of technological advances, like bringing true end-to-end encryption to more than one device, with support for all major desktop and mobile operating systems. Wire solved a problem here that many other companies are still struggling with. And now, we are working to implement Messaging Layer Security (MLS) into our product to scale secure communications even more. Better performance, enhanced group management, and the technical basis for interoperability – it will be really exciting.

And we are doing this from the heart of Europe – our main office in Berlin. For me, it is important to demonstrate that innovation does not only happen in the US or Asia but can take place in Europe as well. Developing a highly secure communication infrastructure is an important part of digital sovereignty in this era of geopolitical tensions. I am very passionate about this mission.

You are an entrepreneur at heart – what motivated you to join an established company like Wire?

I think Wire operates in a very interesting market that is still developing at the moment. For a long time, many decision-makers didn’t see the importance of a scalable, secure communication infrastructure. That is changing at the moment. We are proud that the German government is a longtime partner of ours and has had the vision to understand this early on. 

Because the market is still developing, there are exciting opportunities to position a company like Wire and shape the future of communications. And that is what I am excited about – as it reconnects me with my beginnings as a telecommunications engineer. I know I can have an impact on Wire’s future by bringing in my international experience of scaling cybersecurity companies.

Which lessons from building your own company in the past do you want to apply to Wire?

It was always important for me to build an open company culture based on communication.This is what I want for Wire as well! My job is not to make all the decisions myself and micromanage, it is the worst thing to do in a company and will inevitably lead to failure. 

As a company, you should also be proud about what you are doing, the product you build and the customers to serve. If you don’t shine from the inside, it is hard to convince people on the outside that you have the best offer on the market. 

And we can and should be proud about what Wire has built in the last years. We have a strong technological foundation, the smartest people in the industry working for us and great customers. I have a lot of confidence in the company and I am convinced we can make a big impact on the world.

One more thing: We need to have global aspirations. Germany is a great base for our operations and we are proud to work closely with the German government. But many young companies from Europe think too much about their home turf and only want to expand later. This is a mistake because you need to scale your product early for the different demands of customers from around the world. Engaging with international customers early on will make your product so much stronger. 

What is your message to Wire customers?

We are excited to serve you! In the last few years, we have been working on cutting-edge technologies and achieved huge milestones with the release of Wire Federation and soon Messaging Layer Security (MLS). Another focus point for our development is user experience. Security is only good, if it can easily be used by everyone. We are conducting a lot of research in this area, but we are also always happy for feedback – and love to engage with our customers on how to make even Wire better. So if you have any suggestions, please get in touch with us!

Hauke Gierow

Hauke is the VP for Communication, Brand and Government Relations at Wire. Before joining Wire he held several positions in the Cybersecurity industry and worked as a journalist with focus on IT-security at, and for Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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