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CRN Exclusive: Optiv Security Adds Former SecureWorks, D&H, Symantec Execs To Lead Strategic Business Areas

Optiv Security has added former Symantec exec Anirban Chakravartti, former SecureWorks CISO Doug Steelman, and former D&H CISO Michael Lines as it focuses on key business areas, including managed services and risk and compliance.

Optiv Security is prepping for its pivot to the global market, announcing on Tuesday that it has appointed top-level security executives from Symantec, SecureWorks, and D&H to lead three of its key business initiatives.

Denver, Colo.-based Optiv announced that it had added Anirban Chakravartti as senior vice president, worldwide partner solutions, responsible for leading the security solution provider's partner strategy. Chakravartti comes to Optiv from Symantec, where he was global head of strategic partners. He has also held senior leadership positions at Cisco, AMD and HP.

Optiv also added former Equifax CISO and Dell SecureWorks CSO Doug Steelman to lead the company's managed services push as vice president, managed security services. Before SecureWorks, Steelman held a variety of positions at the Department of Defense, including cyber command director and director of DoD network defense.

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

Finally, Optiv announced it had added Michael Lines as vice president, strategy, risk and compliance advisory services. Lines comes to Optiv from D&H, where he was chief information security officer. He has also held top security leadership roles at PWC and TransUnion.

In an interview with CRN, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Client Solutions Tim Hoffman said the new appointments are part of a shift by Optiv to emphasize business areas it sees as key for its push to become a global security solution provider, as well as add talent that has experience working on a global scale. He said the focus was bringing on executives that "have the ability to execute domestically and be able to expand on our global strategy." Optiv has also recently added former top RSA sales exec Dave Castignola as executive vice president of worldwide sales.

"We're bringing in people that recognize that it is fast-growing and it is an exciting time [for Optiv]," Hoffman said. "We think we're going a pretty good job of supplementing the existing team with individuals that have the experience and have done something that we're looking to do as a company, but it still allows for growth and expansion of our existing employees as well."

The appointments follow months of executive departures for Optiv, including at least nine VP-level executives. Hoffman said Optiv has replaced some of the departing executives, but is focusing on filling those positions in areas, like cloud, that it sees significant opportunity.

"As we continue to evolve our business and understand areas that are high growth, we are making sure that we have alignment to those areas … We have the agility to adapt to where the market is heading, and it's a core understanding of ours. We will make sure we do right and continue to stay ahead of the market for our partners, customers, and employees," Hoffman said.

Hoffman said some of the key areas that Optiv is looking to emphasize include managed services, risk and compliance, orchestration and analytics, and cloud security. He said Optiv would look to support its clients in those areas both domestically and on a global basis through both organic and inorganic investments.


The new executives said they see Optiv as in a "very unique position" in a rapidly evolving market for cybersecurity. They all said their familiarity with the company from vendor partner and competitive companies, as well as experience in the security industry, will help them drive Optiv to the next level of growth.

’Through my experience working for leading technology providers, I came to greatly respect Optiv and think of its people as real visionaries and experts in the industry," Chakravartti said in an email to CRN. "With cybersecurity becoming more of a concern each and every day, Optiv is in a very unique position. It is at the center of a dynamic partner ecosystem, giving it the ability to bring disparate technologies and services together to drive outcomes for clients. I am very excited to be part of something that truly has the power to change the world.’

Lines said he also sees that same opportunity, saying he, in particular, sees a need to help companies bring together fragmented security portfolios. Having worked with Optiv in previous roles, he said he sees the company as particularly well-positioned to help clients strategize, implement, and operationalize security solutions.

"There is an immense opportunity in the market for Optiv to bring together the best strategic and technical capabilities to deliver comprehensive solutions to solving our client’s security problems. I look forward to taking my lessons learned as a security leader and helping Optiv develop and deliver innovative offerings that meet the needs of the industry," Lines said.

Steelman said in an email to CRN that he believes his public and private sector security experience will be key in helping understand organization's needs to address cybersecurity risk in today's world.

"I am proud to help lead Optiv’s efforts to provide that much-needed service to organizations that are looking for a trusted partner who can act as an extension of their security team, or serve as their security team. I believe my experience will help Optiv continue evolving its capabilities that enable clients to minimize risk from cyber threat actor exploitation and attack, while meeting the needs of the business.’

The global push from Optiv comes after the security solution provider's acquisition by private equity firm KKR & Co., a deal that closed in February. Hoffman said KKR has been playing a strong advisory role as Optiv looks to increase its market share around the world.

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

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.

Hoffman said Optiv will look to continue adding to its team "accordingly" as it continues its global strategy.

"We're probably not done on that effort, but we're also going to be adapting what we see from the market, what we're hearing from clients, and what we're hearing from partners, on what the trends are," Hoffman said. "We'll continue to invest and adapt as the market changes, and our client's needs change and our partner's needs change."

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