Pulse Secure Names Former Citrix Exec As CEO To Continue Growth Trajectory Post Juniper Split

Pulse Secure has named a new CEO to lead the charge as the San Jose, Calif.-based company continues its evolution into an independent mobile security company after its October split from Juniper.

On Tuesday, Pulse Secure said former Citrix exec Sudhakar Ramakrishna would be taking the reins as CEO and member of the board of directors, effective immediately.

He replaces interim CEO Al Zollar, who is also chairman of the board and executive chairman at Siris Capital Group, the company that bought Pulse Secure from Juniper in October. Zollar will remain involved with the company as chairman of the board.

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Ramakrishna comes to Pulse Secure from Citrix, where he was senior vice president and general manager for the company's enterprise and service provider division. Ramakrishna left the virtualization vendor at the end of May, according to a February 8-K filing, joining a long series of executives who have been departing the vendor in recent months.

Prior to Citrix, Ramakrishna was president of products and services at Polycom, a position he held for three years. He also has held positions at Motorola Networks, Stoke and 3Com.

Ramakrishna said in an interview with CRN that he plans to leverage his more than 25 years of experience in the industry to help the company drive growth and take advantage of the opportunity it has as a focused, stand-alone company.

"I saw the opportunity here that there's a company singularly focused on innovating and supporting customer needs in these areas," Ramakrishna said. "There's an opportunity to lead and provide the background and context that I have, but also work with a team that is incredibly motivated."

In the short term, Ramakrishna said he looks to dive headfirst into defining the strategic vision within the next three to four months, based on conversations he is already having with employees, customers and partners.

Over the long term, he said customers and partners can expect to see Pulse Secure positioning itself to become more relevant to customers through increasing its visibility and risk compliance solutions, as well as exploring its role in enabling and securing the Internet-of-Things market through technology relationships.

For its channel partners, Ramakrishna said he wants to drive investment in partner enablement through training, the latest and greatest technology and helping them demonstrate the value proposition of the company's solutions to customers.

"Enabling the channel partners to substantially grow their business is a key focus of mine," Ramakrishna said.

That focus adds to the company's first channel program as a stand-alone company, which it launched at the beginning of this month. To do that, Ramakrishna said he plans on building the "best possible team" around innovation, technology, customer support, channel enablement and go-to-market.

"That's going to be my main and primary focus because my belief is that if we do that as a management team, innovation and business success will follow," Ramakrishna said.

While he didn't know the new executive personally, Abel Nelson, vice president of managed security services at McLean, Va.-based GTT Communications, said Ramakrishna's channel background shows that the mobile security company is putting top-level backing behind its partners.

"[I'm] pleased that Pulse is putting a team in place with an eye to growth in the service provider space," Nelson said. "[I'm] bullish on growth opportunities with them as a technology partner."