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On 6th June 2011 DBF was pleased to host David Gurle, Vice President and General Manager for Skype for Business. In the prestigious Sofitel of Redwood City, David Gurle has shared with attendees his professional and life experience which led him to become the successful manager he is today. He related his 20 years of experiences in the IT field and how he has always been ahead of the trend. After more than one hour of interview, he has drawn an exciting portrait of his atypical life. All of the audience was deeply captivated by his humble personality, all the while being an eminent player in business and IT innovations.
Born in Turkey from diplomat parents, his father French, his mother English; he grew throughout the Middle East area: Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. Educated in a multicultural environment, he went to public schools in each country he moved to. Uprooted, with parents always living far from each other, communicating with them but also with others children was not an easy thing. It was not easy to identify himself in an unbalanced environment. He’s learned later by reading a biography relating the life of his mother she was in fact a spy working for the British government.
While his parents where working in a frozen and unknown environment he was a dreamer who wanted to build something concrete. If he chose to work in IT technologies, we can find in his childhood the first fruits of what he would become.
At 18 he left school to work as a ski instructor in winter, and dive instructor in summer. It was a great deception for his father, but quickly David changed his mind and was back in high school. After graduating and after a disillusion trying to pass exams to become a pilot he got into ECIGETEL, an engineering school specialized in Informatics and Telecommunications. Further to graduating in 1992 he was hired by DIGITAL as a junior software engineer, his first experience. Then he would go on to work at France Telecom for three years as a research and development engineer. A mitigated experience in comparison with DIGITAL, confronted to a French organization not really matching with his expectations and restricting his ambitions. In 1995 he moved to Sophia Antipolis being involved by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), a European non-profit commissioned for the standardization of telecommunication process. It is during this two years working at ETSI he commenced to work on networks and Voice over IP (VoIP).
That is when Vocal Tech hired him in 1997 to develop a VoIP process. He moved to Tel Aviv with his family, not an easy period for him just before the beginning of the second Intifada. From this moment he hasn’t stopped to travel around the world due to business reasons.
In 1999 he co-wrote a best-seller book “IP Telephony”, becoming a reference and a pioneer in VoIP solution. Following this success he moved to the American West Coast and during one week accumulated job interviews at Microsoft in Seattle. He has served at Microsoft from 1999 to 2003 as, inter alia, strategic analyst, products and software developer especially in charge of project such as NetMeeting, TAPI, LCS, Windows Messenger, Exchange IM server. Increasing his influence at Microsoft he will be involved in strategic decisions and projects. David was supporting the need to develop VoIP solutions, at this period it was not a priority and a serious trend to pursue for Microsoft.
Headhunted by Reuters, in a troubled period, David Gurle will take part in the successful reorganization of the venture. He served as its Global Head of Collaboration Services based on the East Coast, then as its Head of Sales and Trading in Asia. One more time he will move and settle in different parts of Asia; a very exciting experience for him and his family. In 2008, Thomson merged with Reuters to become Thomson Reuters. He built the team responsible for all the business and product development participating to turn Thomson Reuters as a leader in business information.
Many times, Skype tried to hire David Gurle without any success. It was an interesting project but as long as Skype was the property of Ebay he did not wanted to get involved in a project owned by a venture not implicated naturally in VoIP process.
In 2009 Ebay sold Skype to a consortium for approximately $2.75 billion. In January 2010 David Gurle is hired by Skype as Vice President and General Manager for Skype for Business. Involved into the business development, he takes a part in the critical revaluation of Skype at $8.5 billion when Microsoft will buy it last May. Ironically, the ones who did not wanted to follow his investment advice will buy the VoIP leader venture, the one where David Gurle has contributed to its greater success.
Unfortunately, impossible to get more information about the transaction or future integration of Skype to Microsoft products. Top secret! Any solid information about his future role at Skype/Microsoft is kept under wraps. Nevertheless he shared with the audience his willingness to start his own venture focalizing around HR management. Impossible to know which direction his career is going to take now, but sure, after this interview he has something in mind!
After the interview the assembly questioned David Gurle on various topics and networked with attendees. A very charismatic, humble and funny man, an eminent personality, opens to discuss and share about his career
Thank you again to all of our organizers, guests, Sofitel, and David Gurle for joining us for our June DBF.
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