F5 Networks Nabs Fortinet, Lookout Execs To 'Supercharge' Security Sales

F5 Networks' channel sales team is getting a shot in the arm as it hires two top industry veterans with global experience to bolster the vendor's security charge.

The Seattle-based application delivery networking vendor has hired David Helfer as F5's vice president of Worldwide Channels, and Peter Brant as its senior vice president of North America sales.

"It's great to see that F5 continues to invest in the channel and continues to bet on security," said Jim Quarantillo, a partner at Reston, Va.-based solution provider and F5 partner GuidePoint Security, who's familiar with both Brant and Helfer. "F5 does a lot with application delivery and application availability, but the app is the most vulnerable. Having them look at that more from a security aspect is awesome, and that's where we see the most opportunities right now with F5. … Both these guys are coming in with that deep background in security, so this is great for [channel partners]."

[Related: F5 Channel Chief On 2016: 'Accelerate' HPE Partnership, 'Tighter' Cisco Strategy And Major Channel Investments]

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Helfer comes to F5 from security vendor Lookout, where he served as vice president of Worldwide Channels. He will now be responsible for F5's global channel strategies, partner engagement and the expansion of channel operations capabilities worldwide.

From 2000 to 2014, Helfer held various executive roles at Juniper Networks -- including vice president of Worldwide Channels & Commercial, and vice president of Juniper's Global Partner Organization, according to his LinkedIn profile.

"David's always been very keen on security and helped with some of Juniper's channel programs there," said Quarantillo. "David on a channel side -- the programs I know he's been supportive of and his background with security -- is definitely going to fit well with us."

Brant, previously senior vice president of Americas enterprise sales at Fortinet, brings more than 20 years of experience in technology and security sales. At Fortinet, he led a team of more than 800 sales, channel and engineering professionals, according to F5. Brant has also held executive positions at Breach Security, Admit One Security and SonicWall.

Brant is tasked with leading F5's development and execution of go-to-market strategies and day-to-day operations for all North American sales.

"From a North America side, I know our commercial business is excited to see Peter come in. … Our commercial business has really starting to grow with F5," said Quarantillo.

Both Brant and Helfer will report to John DiLullo, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales at F5.

"Their deep understanding of the security and cloud markets and their experience with the traditional and emerging channels make them uniquely qualified to help F5 supercharge our sales efforts," said DiLullo in a news release.

F5 has been making some significant investments and initiatives around security in recent years. In October, F5 teamed up with security vendor FireEye to make application delivery more secure, bringing together F5's application delivery infrastructure capabilities and FireEye's threat protection.

"Those partnerships they have with those security companies are a huge value add to us," said GuidePoint's Quarantillo.

F5 channel chief Jim Ritchings recently told CRN that security is "an area of significant investment" for the company in 2016.

"It is an area where we're investing in terms of building the team with specific security acumens," said Ritchings, senior vice president of Worldwide Channels. "We're hiring security channel specialists and focusing them on developing existing partners further and recruiting new partners. … We're building a team focused on growing the security channel."