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May 2003

Profile: Gil Shwed, Check Point co-founder, CEO

Gil Shwed won't divulge his age. Or his middle name, even an initial. His girlfriend? Motto in life? Oh, puh-leeze. The cofounder, CEO and chairman of Check Point Software Technologies is one of network security's most successful, influential and enigmatic leaders, a casually dressed billionaire who ranks among Israel's richest men. He runs a publicly traded company that managed a decade of exceptional profit margins despite producing only two core products: FireWall-1 and VPN-1. That software has been installed at more than 300,000 sites globally, including almost every Fortune 500 company--a feat done with a mere 1,200 employees worldwide. And he's done all this without making much of a name for himself. This spring marks the 10-year anniversary of Check Point, the software firm on which Shwed and two partners staked their careers and a $350,000 loan. When it first hit the market, critics shunned Shwed's firewall for being all flash and no substance. Who needs a fancy GUI? What's with all these icons and colors? And this ...

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