Fuster To Step Down As Fortinet Federal President

Fuster told CRN that he would leave the wholly owned subsidiary of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security vendor Fortinet by early next month. Fortinet spun out its federal division in August to focus on government contracts, particularly among intelligence agencies. Fortinet Federal has top secret security clearance.

Fuster said he was leaving for personal reasons and didn't have anything negative to say about his current employer. "It's just time for me to do something different," he said.

Fuster is in discussions with a couple of startups backed by Arlington, Va.-based In-Q-Tel, an investment firm that funds technology companies developing products for the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader U.S. intelligence community. Fuster said the positions would be "lateral" moves, such as a vice president of sales and operations.

In either position, Fuster's job would entail building a channel program. Fuster declined to identify the companies, which he described as "very well positioned and successful." Both companies had a "security slant," but broader technology portfolios than Fortinet Federal, Fuster said.

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A Fortinet spokesman confirmed Fuster's planned departure and said Steve Kirk, sales manager for Fortinet in Washington, D.C., would be Fuster's interim replacement. The company declined to provide further comment.

When Fortinet spun out its federal division, Fuster set a goal of growing the subsidiary to 30 percent of Fortinet's overall revenue. The advantage of the company was to provide Fortinet with top secret security clearance, without having to get board and corporate executives cleared individually. On the reseller front, channel partners got access to sensitive government work through Fortinet Federal.

Before launching the subsidiary, Fortinet had reported significant growth in its federal business, driven by an increasing number of cyber attacks and new federal security policies. In July, the Department of Defense unveiled a Cyber Security Strategy aimed at building better defenses for the nation's computer systems and establishing cyber space as another domain to be defended, like air, land or sea.