Palo Alto Networks has announced that Mark McLaughlin, who will be moving to the role of vice chairman of the board, will be replaced as chairman and CEO by former SoftBank COO Nikesh Arora.
“The company is executing extremely well and is the clear leader in next-generation security,” McLaughlin said. “Over the course of several quarters, I have been discussing succession planning with the Board and I couldn’t be more pleased that we have found a leader in Nikesh who is ideally suited to take the company on the next leg of its journey. I look forward to working with Nikesh as we transition and serving as vice chairman of the Board.
McLaughlin, who will be stepping down as CEO on June 6, has held the position for 11 years and will be leaving on a high note with strong fiscal third quarter 2018 results, including total revenue growth of 31 percent year over year to $567.1 million.
It will be holdings its earnings call on Monday and, according to CFO Kathy Bonanno, “will be reporting top line and bottom line results above all our third quarter guided ranges.”
I couldn’t be more pleased that we have found a leader in Nikesh who is ideally suited to take the company on the next leg of its journey.
– Mark McLaughlin, CEO, Palo Alto Networks
“Mark has been an outstanding leader whose strong leadership was critical to building the company into the fastest-growing enterprise cybersecurity company in the world and we are grateful for his contributions,” said Daniel J. Warmenhoven, lead independent director. “As we move forward in this era of digital and security transformation, there is no better person to lead Palo Alto Networks than Nikesh Arora. The Board of Directors is very pleased to have such a proven business and technology leader who brings demonstrated leadership and ability to scale to the company.”
Arora’s former roles include serving as president and chief operating officer at SoftBank, and chief business officer at Google. Despite being expected to take over as CEO of SoftBank, he stepped down to an advisory role in 2016, which was speculated to be due to criticism from investors.
There is no better person to lead Palo Alto Networks than Nikesh Arora.
– Daniel J. Warmenhoven, Lead independent director, Palo Alto Networks
His career at Google was heavily stressed in Palo Alto Networks’ press release, which emphasised that he “was instrumental in growing Google’s search business from $2 billion in revenues to over $60 billion in revenues, led more than 20,000 employees, and developed a substantial track record of driving innovation and delivering business success.”
“I am thrilled and honored to join Palo Alto Networks. I have developed a deep appreciation for the company’s culture, values and pioneering spirit as innovators and disruptors and I look forward to working with the entire Palo Alto Networks team on our mission of protecting our customers in the digital age.”