Juniper Global Channel Chief Helfer Leaving For Mobile Security Startup


David Helfer, head of worldwide channels and commercial at Juniper Networks, is leaving the company, CRN has learned. 

Sources said Helfer is leaving Juniper in September to head up global channels at mobile security provider Lookout. He has been with Juniper 14 years.

Juniper confirmed Helfer's departure. "We can confirm that David Helfer will be leaving Juniper to pursue other career opportunities," a Juniper spokesperson wrote in an email to CRN. "We thank him for his many contributions and wish him the best."

Related: Juniper Networks To Sell Mobile Security Suite For $250 Million

According to sources, Helfer in his new role is going to be tasked with building a channel strategy for San Francisco-based Lookout, who just this week nabbed $150 million in a new round of funding. Lookout said in a statement it has more than 50 million consumers using its mobile security apps for Android and iOS devices. The funding, the company said, is going to fuel its push into the enterprise, an effort Helfer will no doubt aid with his 20 years of experience in indirect sales. 

Helfer is one of several high-level channel executives to leave Juniper over the past 18 months. In a move applauded by partners, Helfer was tapped to lead worldwide channels in October when former Juniper global channel chief Emilio Umeoka also left the company.

In November, Juniper's Americas channel chief Chris Jones left Juniper for Avaya. Jones, who has since been replaced by Juniper's Jonathan Belcher, had replaced Juniper's previous Americas channel chief Frank Vitagliano, who jumped ship to Dell in March.

Also in 2013, Juniper lost Senior Director of Worldwide Partner Development Lori Cornmesser, who left for network monitoring specialist Ixia Communications, and Vice President of Worldwide Partner Development Steve Pataky, who is now at security vendor FireEye.

"It hasn't had any direct impact yet," said Chris Becerra, vice president of sales at Terrapin Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based Juniper Elite partner, of the recent changes to Juniper's channel organization. "I guess it's cause for concern any time there are multiple people leaving or not staying for very long. But we haven't seen any direct impact yet."

Juniper's executive ranks also have changed outside of its channel organization. In November, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking vendor named Shaygan Kheradpir, a former Barclays and Verizon Communications executive, as its new CEO.

Kheradpir replaced former Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson, who in July disclosed plans to retire.

Kheradpir in February unveiled Juniper's integrated operating plan (IOP), a far-reaching restructuring effort aimed at cutting costs and refocusing Juniper's efforts around cloud and what Kheradpir billed "highly intelligent networks."

The IOP was introduced in response to ongoing pressure from hedge-fund and Juniper investor Elliott Management, which filed a report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in January, urging Juniper to reduce operating expenses, re-evaluate its product portfolio and scale back on R&D spend.

In July, Juniper said it's going to sell its Junos Pulse portfolio of mobile security solutions to Siris Capital for $250 million.

An executive from another Juniper Elite partner, who requested anonymity, told CRN in a recent interview that his Juniper business is still strong, but the company's direction under Kheradpir is not entirely clear.

"We have a lot invested in Juniper and we are clearly rooting for their success and continued growth," the partner told CRN. "But I think it's really important to have a consistent vision and messaging so that customers understand things, and I can't tell you I totally know their direction."

PUBLISHED AUG. 16, 2014