Palo Alto Networks has hired Google search veteran Nikesh Arora as its new CEO and chairman. He'll succeed Mark McLaughlin on June 6, the cybersecurity technology company confirmed.
Arora previously was president and COO of SoftBank, and chief business officer at Google -- where he led the $60 billion business and 20,000 employees.
McLaughlin, who shifts to vice chairman of Palo Altho Networks' board, says the move was part of a planned CEO transition that he discussed with board members in recent quarters.
Palo Alto Networks: Growing, Evolving
Arora joins the cybersecurity company at a key time. Although revenues are rising rapidly, Palo Alto Networks must navigate multiple market shifts as malware evolves to attack cloud, network and endpoint systems in new ways.
Palo Alto Networks' revenue was $567.1 million for its fiscal third-quarter, up 31 percent from the corresponding quarter last year, the company said Frida. Product revenue grew 31 percent and billings grew 33 percent, the company added. The company will hold an earnings call on Monday (June 4, 2018) to discuss the more fully discuss the results.
Amid the shifting security landscape, Palo Alto Networks has developed an Application Framework to build an ecosystem of integrated partner solutions. True believers include FireMon, Medigate, ON2IT, Radiflow and Silverfort -- each of which announced or demonstrated integrations during the Palo Alto Ignite 2018 conference in May.
Palo Alto Networks also has a strong commitment to channel partner engagements. Numerous MSPs -- including 2nd Watch, Opaq Networks, Telindus Netherlands, now leverage the company's technology for managed security services.
The security company has also made key acquisitions to blend organic R&D with tuck-in technologies -- including AWS and Azure security specialist Evident.io, and endpoint detection and response (EDR) startup Secdo.
Still, the company also faces intense competition. Among the key rivals to watch:
- Baracuda Networks, which has leveraged private equity backing to acquire multiple tuck-in technologies.
- Check Point Software Technologies, which is addressing "fifth generation cyber attacks" with an enhanced product lineup.
- Cisco Systems, which continues to bet heavily on endpoint, network and cloud security.
- SonicWall, which recently launched a dedicated MSSP partner program, bolstered its executive leadership, and recapitalized its business to pursue potential M&A deals.
- Sophos, which has intensified its attack on the firewall market while assisting thousands of VARs with the shift to managed security services.
Nikesh Arora's Expertise
Of course, Palo Alto Networks isn't resting on its laurels, and Arora has extensive experience scaling companies. Google's business grew to $60 billion from $2 billion during his leadership. Earlier, he was chief marketing officer at T-Mobile in the hyper-competitive mobile market.
Moreover, Arora's experience at SoftBank provides highly valued know-how on the international scene -- especially as it pertains to potential investments, M&A deals and global trends.