Former BlackBerry Exec Alex Thurber Joins Pulse Secure As Global CRO

‘The opportunity at Pulse to look over revenue from around the world was very appealing … I have a way of not looking at things just how we built them in the U.S. and then throwing them over the fence,’ Thurber, the new chief revenue officer, tells CRN.


Mobile security firm Pulse Secure has brought on former BlackBerry executive Alex Thurber as its new chief revenue officer, a role that will allow the sales veteran to flex his international business muscles.

Thurber had an exciting -- if not unconventional -- childhood filled with moving around the world and settling in locations such as Africa, Pakistan, and the U.K. As an adult, he focused on worldwide sales, which landed him in Japan for a time.

"The opportunity at Pulse to look over revenue from around the world was very appealing because not only do I like working with different cultures and the challenges that it brings, but my background allows me to be successful because I have a way of not just looking at things like we built them in the U.S. and then throwing them over the fence," Thurber told CRN.

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In his new role with Pulse Secure, which spun out of Juniper Networks in 2014, Thurber will be responsible for global sales strategy, management and team development.

Prior to his role with Pulse Secure, Thurber served as senior vice president, general manager of BlackBerry’s Mobility Solutions business unit for two years were he helped the company shift its focus toward security. He also served as vice president of worldwide sales for WatchGuard Technologies, and before that, held sales leadership roles at Tripwire, McAfee, and Cisco Systems.

Thurber brings more than 20 years of sales and leadership experience to Pulse Secure. The San Jose, Calif.-based firm specializes in secure access solutions, including authentication, networking visibility, and unified endpoint management products.

"I've been in the channel and in security for way too long, and the combination of those within one role is exciting," Thurber said. "I've always worked for channel-focused companies, so Pulse really fits with my background."

Pulse Secure launched its first channel program in 2015 and is a 100 percent channel-focused company. Pulse Secure last January revamped its Access Now partner program to reward solution providers that earn more certifications through rebates and market development funds. The program required partners within the top two levels of the program to complete multiple Pulse Secure certifications. The Access Now program, however, isn't complete, Thurber said.

In his capacity as CRO, Thurber will be working with the channel team to finalize the last perimeters of the partner program. He also said that the company will be increasing its investment on the channel because the bulk of the company's investment in revenue up until now has been focused on its high-touch sales organization.

"We spun out of Juniper, so we have some large accounts that need a lot of attention, but we are going to invest more on the channel side to make sure we are working with our channel partners," Thurber said. "I see the channel as our extended sales force."