Leading cybersecurity company Fox-IT from Delft may cease to exist due to reorganization by owner NCC Group and the departure of the Dutch company’s director Inge Bryan, sources told the Volkskrant.
According to the newspaper’s sources, NCC Group has decided to split up the Dutch firm, Fox-IT, after a dramatic year in which it saw more than half its stock market value disappear. NCC Group is planning on selling Fox Crypto, the business unit that deals with the protection of state secrets, and DetAct, the division that focuses on detecting financial fraud.
The rest of the Dutch company will be integrated into NCC Group, with the Dutch management and company name Fox-IT eventually disappearing, the newspaper’s sources said.
Fox-IT director Inge Bryan already announced her departure at a staff meeting on Thursday. She will stay on until October to find a buyer for Fox Crypto, working as an advisor. The chief operating officer at Fox-IT, Harmen Dikkers, will stay on as interim managing director, the company said in a statement. “In February, NCC Group, of which Fox-IT is a part, announced it would transition to become one global business that’s agile and resilient, and can thrive in a fast moving, evolving technology landscape to better serve its clients and its collective purpose,” the company wrote in a statement.
Fox-IT was founded in the late 1990s and grew into a leading cybersecurity company with customers worldwide. The company is particularly known for its incident response, investigating high-profile hacks like the Russian hack of the Dutch police and ransomware attacks on Maastricht University, VDL, and the football association KNVB.
The British NCC acquired Fox-IT in 2015 for 135 million euros. According to the Volkskrant, there were almost instant clashes about corporate culture and disagreements about the company’s course. NCC Group is more of a consultancy firm, while Fox-IT is a tech company with long-term government contracts – not very commercially attractive for a listed NCC committed to growth.
In 2020, three board members tried to sell Fox-IT to a Dutch investor, fearing the company would end up in foreign hands. NCC Group then dismissed the three directors, and calm seemed to return. But tensions remained in the background and were reinforced by the poor economic climate, according to the Volkskrant.
NCC’s market value fell by 57 percent in the past year. Fox-IT had a good year, growing faster than NCC, but is paying the price for its parent company’s poor results. “Sacrifices have to be made for the stock market,” the Volkskrant’s insider said. And those sacrifices will likely be the Dutch company.