Palo Alto Networks Channel Chief Tom Evans To Depart

Evans, who has headed the cybersecurity giant’s channel program since late 2022, is leaving ‘to pursue another opportunity’ that was not disclosed.

Palo Alto Networks Channel Chief Tom Evans (pictured) is departing the company for a role elsewhere, the cybersecurity vendor told CRN.

Evans’ last day with Palo Alto Networks is today. The company did not specify where he is headed.

[Related: Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora: Why 2023 Is The Year Of The Channel]

“After 6.5 years, Tom Evans has decided to depart from the company to pursue another opportunity,” Palo Alto Networks said in a statement provided to CRN.

“He leaves a strong bench to ensure a seamless transition. We have opened a search for his replacement,” the company’s statement said. “We thank Tom for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Evans was named vice president of worldwide channel sales at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company in December 2022. He initially joined the cybersecurity giant in mid-2017 as director for public cloud partners and was promoted several times before being named worldwide channel chief.

CRN has reached out to Evans for comment.

This week, Evans advanced to the final round of the 2024 CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs.

In October, Evans told CRN that the debut of major updates to the vendor’s NextWave Partner Program aimed to enhance partner profitability and predictability as part of its drive to enable the channel to sell more products across its broad cybersecurity platform.

The changes by Palo Alto Networks announced last fall included a shift to a compensation model based on back-end rebates and the introduction of a more-lucrative incentive for individual partner sales representatives.

“We realized that if we’re going to expect more out of our channel partners, we’ve got to find ways to incent them to do that,” Evans told CRN at the time. “This allows us to enhance that profitability — so that they will make more margin on the value they provide.”

In February, Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora disclosed a dramatic overhaul of the vendor’s growth strategy aimed at speeding up adoption of tools on its consolidated platform.

With a platform that now extends far beyond its roots in firewalls, Palo Alto Networks “has grown up very quickly,” said Gary McConnell, CEO of VirtuIT Systems, a Nanuet, N.Y.-based solution and service provider.

Looking ahead, “I’m intrigued to see that portfolio continue to come together,” McConnell said.

Joshua Lee, director of sales at VirtuIT, said he’s also been appreciative of how Palo Alto Networks has offered a partner-friendly process for doing business with the company — which he is hoping will continue with the vendor’s channel leadership transition ahead.

“As long as they’re making it easy for my team to fulfill orders, get quotes together, get technical resources if we need them — that’s really what we need,” Lee said. Palo Alto Networks has excelled in this regard in recent years, “and as long as that’s not changing, I’m good to go on my side,” he said.