Sources: Optiv Security Faces Flood Of Executive Departures After KKR Acquisition

Optiv Security has seen a flood of top-level executive departures following the company's acquisition by private equity firm KKR & Co. just four months ago, CRN has learned.

CRN has identified at least nine VP-level executives that have left the company since January. Of those executives, five have already announced new positions at different companies on LinkedIn.

According to LinkedIn updates, the departures include Optiv's vice president and general manager of the Office of the CISO; vice president of cloud security and strategy; vice president of mergers and acquisitions; vice president of enterprise applications; vice president of healthcare and critical infrastructure; vice president of the North East area; vice president of lead development; vice president of executive advisory; and division vice president of client advisory. Comm Solutions CEO Paul Black, who led the company Optiv acquired in March, also left the company.

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CRN spoke to nearly a dozen sources close to the company, who said the departures are due to multiple factors, including compensation changes for the executive staff in recent months and increased pressure to hit higher sales targets. Other sources said recruiting pressures from security industry peers increased in the last few months, with many executives leaving the company to take positions at security vendors.

Nearly all sources spoken to by CRN said there has been significant culture changes at Optiv in recent months, prompting some of the departures. The culture changes were the result of the company's merger foundation and the more recent KKR acquisition.

"It is a mass exodus of sales and operating staff. It's just gotten crazy," one source, who did not want to be identified, said.

The departures do not appear to be layoff related, rather due to what one source called an "acceptable level of loss" of executives by KKR and Optiv management as it positions for its next phase of growth.

In an email to CRN, Optiv CEO Dan Burns said the company has evolved significantly over the past few years, including the merger of two $750 million companies into one and its growth to a $2 billion solution provider today. He said the changes are part of that evolution.

’Just like the cyber security industry and the demands of the clients we serve, Optiv has significantly evolved over the past few years … What we have accomplished thus far is unprecedented in our industry," Burns said.

"We’ve experienced a lot of change in a relatively short period of time, but our overarching goals remain the same – to provide our employees with a positive and innovative work environment, and deliver to our clients expanded capabilities, services, solutions and geographic coverage to help them plan, build and run more successful cyber security programs. The opportunity for Optiv continues to accelerate, and we believe we are well positioned for future success," he said.

CRN reached out to the departing executives for comment. Some executives confirmed their departures in messages to CRN, but none would comment on the direct reasons for their job changes.

The changes come after Optiv's blockbuster acquisition by private equity firm KKR & Co, an $2 billion acquisition that was first announced in December and completed in February. In an interview with CRN at the time, CEO Dan Burns said the acquisition would allow Optiv to become the first "global security solution provider." He said the backing of KKR would allow Optiv to make acquisitions globally, as well asA make investments in its cloud security business.

Optiv has already started to make some moves in that area, including the March acquisition of Malvern, Pa.-based Comm Solutions to expand its presence in the Northeast market.

The KKR acquisition came little more than a year after Optiv was formed from the merger of security solution providers Accuvant and FishNet Security, a merger that closed in August 2015.

While the company has seen many executive departures in recent months, the tone overall seems positive on what the future holds for Optiv. If anything, they said the company's shifts could help streamline the business for further expansion opportunities.

"I think that the changes in the company that have taken place there over the past three years have been very beneficial for the long-term and the long-term growth of the company," one source close to the company said. "I think they have a very bright future."