Palo Alto Networks Sales SVP To Retire, Will Be Replaced By Salesforce EVP


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Palo Alto Networks Senior Vice President of Americas Sales John Spiliotis is planning to retire from the Santa Clara, Calif.-based security vendor, sources told CRN.

Spiliotis will be replaced by Patrick Blair, the sources said. Blair currently serves as executive vice president for Salesforce.com. Blair is on site at the Palo Alto Networks Sales Kick Off in Las Vegas, Nevada this week, one source said, and his appointment was announced at the event.

Palo Alto Networks confirmed Spiliotis' retirement from the company in an email to CRN.

[Related: Palo Alto Networks Overhauls Sales Strategy, CEO Says Channel Partners Not Affected]

"We can confirm that John Spiliotis is retiring and we thank him for his tremendous service to our company," Dave Peranich, executive vice president, worldwide sales at Palo Alto Networks, said in a statement to CRN. CRN reached out to Spiliotis directly but did not receive a reply.

Palo Alto Networks also confirmed Blair's appointment as senior vice president and general manager of Americas sales.

"With his experience in several sales leadership roles at Salesforce, where he led their largest and fastest growing business unit, Patrick brings to our team a wealth of sales expertise and proven success delivering market-leading results. He will add to the tremendous bench strength of our current sales organization and play a key role in scaling and inspiring our Americas sales organization to reach audacious goals and the next big milestones in our company journey," Peranich said in a statement.  

Spiliotis' departure comes just a few months after Palo Alto Networks took an earnings hit from sales execution issues that resulted in a "disappointing" sales performance. CEO Mark McLaughlin said at the time that the problems occurred in all regions, but the impact from Americas sales stumbles was particularly strong as that region accounts for a significant percentage of the company's overall business.

The go-to-market problems stemmed from the company's sales playbook, which McLaughlin said has driven high growth in years past, but no longer sees the same return on investment. The playbook had the company splitting territories vertically and by customer size, as well as investing in sales and marketing. McLaughlin said those changes occurred too quickly, over-complicating the go-to-market strategy and leading to weaker relationships with customers.

Palo Alto Networks has since worked to "recalibrate" its sales go-to-market by reorganizing its account coverage model, retooling its sales and marketing resources and updating its second half revenue expectations. The company said it expected to see the effects in the second half of 2017, and said in its most recent earnings call that the reorganization was "on track."

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