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Will New CEO Change Websense?

VARs are hoping new Websense CEO Gene Hodges will expand the company&'s product line, sparking increased opportunities for partners.

Hodges last week resigned as president of rival McAfee to become president and CEO of Websense, a Web filtering and security vendor in San Diego.

Some VARs were excited about the opportunities that Hodges—known for his technology prowess—may bring to the channel. Steven Palange, president and CEO of TLIC Worldwide, a network security solution provider in Wakefield, R.I., said he hopes Websense will offer new technologies with Hodges at the helm, including an appliance-based solution targeted at the SMB market.

“Websense is a great company, but there hasn&'t been any significant change there—no new killer apps,” Palange said. “They&'re missing a huge opportunity by not having an appliance.”

Websense has historically targeted VARs with larger enterprise customers, he said, but maybe now it will focus on other growth markets as well. Some VARs said they are aren&'t sure what the change in leadership will mean.

“I think that it&'s great news for Websense, but [I&'m] not certain how it will affect the channel. As a precaution, I personally plan to look at other solutions and continue to work with SurfControl and Blue Coat,” said Mike McKinzie, president of Securetek, Irvine, Calif.

At Websense, Hodges succeeds John Carrington, who served as the top executive since May 1999.

“Although I was not seeking a change, the position as CEO of Websense was simply too compelling to pass up,” Hodges said in a statement. “Websense has all the attributes of a successful growth company—a large and expanding customer base, strong brand recognition, new products, unique technology, emerging markets, strong partnerships and a solid balance sheet.”

Hodges was not available for an interview at press time.

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