Former F5 Sales Chief Lands At Palo Alto Networks


The former sales chief of F5 Networks, whose resignation was abruptly announced last week, is headed for next-generation firewall (NGFW) upstart Palo Alto Networks in a newly created role.

Mark Anderson, who served as F5's executive vice president of worldwide sales since 2007, will be Palo Alto's senior vice president of worldwide field operations, giving him oversight of the company's sales, customer support and services. Larry Link, who is Palo Alto's current vice president of sales, is transitioning into a new job as senior vice president, emerging markets strategy.

Palo Alto Networks confirmed both moves Monday, and the appointments officially take effect on Tuesday.

[Related: F5 Networks' Global Sales Boss Resigns]

Anderson reports to Mark McLaughlin, Palo Alto's president and CEO, who cited Anderson's depth of leadership experience and "impressive track record of rapidly scaling go to market organizations, and servicing enterprise customers with the highest level of quality and integrity."

"We welcome Mark to the organization," McLaughlin said in a statement.

A darling of the next-generation firewall (NGFW) space, Palo Alto Networks recently filed for an initial public offering worth up to $175 million. Its S-1 filing with the SEC indicated that Palo Alto made $118.6 million in revenue for its fiscal 2011, ended July 31, 2011, and posted a loss of $12.5 million.

As it's built up goodwill in the channel, Palo Alto has seen a number of executive changes in recent years, including the hiring of McLaughlin as CEO in August 2011. The company has about 750 solution provider partners worldwide, and a Palo Alto IPO has been long-anticipated.

F5, meanwhile, has been aggressively courting security-focused channel partners and looking to position itself as a security vendor beyond its application delivery networking (ADN) and data center strongholds. In March, F5 launched Vault, a global partner program exclusively for its security products.