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Splunk names Proofpoint's ex-CEO as new leader and board member

By Catherine Knowles
Fri 4 Mar 2022

Splunk has named Gary Steele as the company’s new chief executive officer, and as a member of the company’s board of directors. This will be effective as of April 11 of this year.

Steele is a technology executive with more than 30 years of experience and a history of scaling SaaS operations and growing multi-billion dollar global enterprises.

Steele was the founding CEO of Proofpoint, and over the past two decades has led the company’s growth from an early-stage start-up to a publicly traded security-as-a-service provider to a number of known organisations.

As a public company, Proofpoint had a long history of strong growth combined with compelling free cash flow.

Prior to Proofpoint, Steele was CEO of Portera and held various leadership roles at Sybase, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.

Steele currently serves on the boards of directors of Upwork, a public technology company, as well as Malwarebytes, Synack and Modmed, three private companies.

In addition, Steele serves as a trustee and director at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Washington State University.

Splunk interim CEO and chair Graham Smith says, “Gary is a visionary leader whose software and cybersecurity expertise, deep understanding of SaaS and recurring revenue models, and unwavering commitment to driving innovation and customer success on a global scale will be invaluable to Splunk on our path to $5 billion and beyond.

"We’re thrilled to welcome Gary to the Splunk team, and look forward to working with him to further scale the business and extend the value we provide our customers and partners.”

On his appointment, Steele says, “Splunk has built one of the most respected brands in tech and is at the forefront of security and observability. I’m honoured to join the company at such an important moment – for both Splunk and the industry.

"I’ve dedicated my career to helping companies around the world safeguard their data, systems and infrastructure, and know firsthand how critical Splunk’s products and solutions have become to customers as they navigate hybrid, multi-cloud environments with increasingly complex attacks and threat actors. Splunk is executing against a tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to working with the team to ensure the business reaches its full potential.”

Steele continues, “Splunk has incredible talent and an innovative and customer-centric ethos. I can’t wait to get started and earn the right to call myself a Splunker.”

In connection with this announcement, Graham Smith, who has served as Interim CEO since November 2021, will return to his role as chair of the Splunk Board when Steele joins the company.

Splunk board lead independent director Steve Newberry says, “We thank Graham for his leadership as Interim CEO while the Board conducted its search for Splunk’s next CEO. The Board is focused on ensuring a seamless transition and remains committed to driving long-term value for our stockholders.”

Splunk is focused on helping organisations around the world ‘turn data into doing’. Splunk technology is designed to investigate, monitor, analyse and act on data at any scale.

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