Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Business Wire
Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Security and Election Experts Form Smartmatic US Board

October 24, 2018 GMT

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 24, 2018--Smartmatic, the world’s leading elections company, has appointed a U.S. Board of Directors to guide the company as it offers secure technology to election jurisdictions across the country.

This newly formed body consists of experts with core competences in technology, government affairs, election integrity and cyber security.

The Board consists of:

Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger (USCG retired), who served as the 29th Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and also as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a position he held until January 2017;

Robert Cook, who has over three decades’ experience helping elections commissions from around the world to improve the transparency and efficiency of their processes;


Gracia Hillman, who served as a commissioner and chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (2003-2010); and

Paul DeGregorio, an elections expert who also served as commissioner and chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (2003-2007).

The first board meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 26 th. Mr. Neffenger Chairs the board, and Robert Cook acts as Executive Director.

“We’re excited to welcome the US board members and their unique capabilities. Their diverse experience as innovators across industries will be invaluable as we continue to assist in modernizing elections infrastructure in the U.S. and around the world,” explained Antonio Mugica, Chief Executive Officer of Smartmatic.

Chairman Neffenger added, “The Department of Homeland Security has designated U.S. elections systems as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The growing threat of cyberattacks on U.S. elections has put election infrastructure and the need for security and technology improvements front and center. Our Board is fully focused on supporting Smartmatic’s collaborative and transparent work with industry representatives; regulators; federal, state and local governments; and election officials to promote a strong, stable sector with election integrity as the paramount focus.”

Smartmatic recently opened its West Coast office in Santa Monica, California which hosts some 50 local employees. The company is currently working with the County of Los Angeles on a new elections system for 2020. Smartmatic was founded in 2000 in the U.S. and ever since has maintained its U.S. headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

About Smartmatic

Smartmatic is the world’s leading elections company. Its comprehensive portfolio offers unique and innovative technologies and services to improve every stage of the process.

Since forming in 2000, the company has processed over 3.7 billion votes in election projects on five continents.


Smartmatic is headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and serves its customers through an organization of more than 500 employees working in 16 offices around the world.


Board members’ experience in more detail:

Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger (USCG retired) enjoyed a distinguished career in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served as the 29th Vice Commandant until June 2015 when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a position he held until January 2017. He was named one of the 25 most influential business travel executives of 2016 by Business Travel News after he led a complete transformation of TSA.

Vice Admiral Neffenger holds an MPA from Harvard University, an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, an MA in Business Management from Central Michigan University, and a BA from Baldwin Wallace University, from where he recently received an honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Public Service).

He is a two-time recipient of the Department of Homeland Security’s Distinguished Service Medal and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Northeastern University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Cook has worked closely with election commissions on five continents, leading some of the world’s largest election technology deployments. Since he joined Smartmatic in 2004, he has held various leadership positions always playing a pivotal role.

Before working at Smartmatic, Mr. Cook was President of the Unisys Corporation’s Latin America and Caribbean Division. He was also President of Unisys Brazil, Unisys Mexico and Vice-President of marketing operations for Asia/Pacific and the Americas.

Effective October 1, 2018, Mr. Cook retired from his position as Smartmatic’s VP Global Administration to join the company’s U.S. Board of Directors. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Wittenberg University, Ohio, USA.

Gracia Hillman served as commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from 2003 to 2010, and as chairman. During her career, she also served as Vice President for External Affairs at Howard University, Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State, President and CEO of WorldSpace Foundation, and Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of the U.S., the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the National Coalition on Black Voter Participation.

Ms. Hillman has provided leadership as an officer and director of numerous nonprofit boards of directors and government commissions. She has represented the United States government before the United Nations, Organization of American States and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Paul DeGregorio served as commissioner of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from 2003 to 2007, and during his tenure at the EAC served as chairman. At the EAC, Mr. DeGregorio oversaw federal election reform, such as the implementation of the Help America Vote Act and the establishment of the first federal certification of voting systems.

He has over 30 years of election experience and was Director of Elections for St. Louis County, Missouri, U.S. DeGregorio has held significant policy-making and top management positions in prominent institutions that have advanced the cause of democracy and elections, including his service as Executive Vice President of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and as a leader of several election assessment missions for various institutions.

A graduate of the University of Missouri with a B.A. in Political Science, Mr. DeGregorio was honored by his alma mater with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

View source version on

CONTACT: Smartmatic

Media contact:

Samira Saba

Director of Communications



SOURCE: Smartmatic

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 10/24/2018 09:00 AM/DISC: 10/24/2018 09:01 AM