Microsoft Israel R&D head quits to found startup

Assaf Rappaport / Photo: PR

Assaf Rappaport said that Microsoft's development center had grown over 50% when he headed it.

Microsoft Israel R&D general manager Assaf Rappaport has announced his resignation today after four years at the company, including two years as general manager of Microsoft Israel's R&D center. Rappaport plans to found a startup.

Rappaport was CEO of Adallom, sold to Microsoft in 2015 for $320 million. After the acquisition, Rappaport was appointed manager of Microsoft's cloud security division. In January 2018, Microsoft announced the appointment of Rappaport, then 34 years old, as general manager of its R&D center in Israel. He replaced Yoram Yaacovi, who resigned after 20 years in the job. Rappaport's replacement has not been announced.

"I notified over 1,500 Microsoft Israel employees this morning that I was leaving my position after four years at the company, including two years as general manager. I plan to found a new startup," Rappaport wrote in a Facebook post. "The center in Israel grew by over 50% in these two years, hundreds of new employees joined, we opened offices in Tel Aviv, and made Nazareth an active development center. We emphasized security, artificial intelligence, and big data, and led the development center in Israel to be not only an extremely innovative development center, but also the best place to work in Israel. Our security group leads business with an activity volume that has already exceeded $1 billion, with products that protect over 100 million users around the world."

Rappaport also mentioned his social involvement as general manager, writing, "During this time, it was important to me to increase awareness in the business sector in general, especially in the technology sector, of the needs of employees from various communities. In July 2018, we led the LGBT protest when we announced a surrogate motherhood grant for the company's employees. We led a struggle to combat violence against women, and in June 2019 initiated a process of making contract labor direct employees of the company. I had the great privilege of knowing and working with amazing people at Microsoft. My learning experience at the company was beyond anything I expected, and I am grateful for that to each and every one of the company's employees."

The switch from contract workers to direct employees, which Rappaport announced recently, is one of a series of social actions by Microsoft since Rappaport entered his position 18 months ago. As part of the LGBT protest in July 2018, Microsoft announced that it would give every employee beginning a surrogate motherhood process a NIS 60,000 grant in order to make the conditions equal to those of heterosexual couples receiving a similar subsidy from the state. Microsoft was followed by many technology companies supporting the protest.

Five months later, the protesting of violence against women began. Microsoft published a protest video clip featuring leading women in the technology industry.

In an interview for the "Globes" Road Show podcast last July, Rappaport said that he missed working at a startup, as opposed to working at a corporation like Microsoft. "There's something enchanting about a small startup fighting for its life, about being the underdog. I think that it may be nostalgia, like I miss IDF basic training, which was harder," Rappaport said at the time.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on December 18, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Assaf Rappaport / Photo: PR
Assaf Rappaport / Photo: PR
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