Optiv Security Expands Board Of Directors, Adds Former FireEye CEO DeWalt And Retired General David Petraeus

Optiv Security has added two new top security advisers to its board of directors, the solution provider said Thursday.

The Denver-based security solution provider said former FireEye and McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt had joined the company as vice chairman. The company also announced the addition of retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus to the board.

The Optiv board of directors now includes DeWalt, General Petraeus, and CEO Dan Burns, as well as members of current and previous private equity owners. Those members include former owner Blackstone's Private Equity Group principal Anushka Sunder and current private equity owner KKR's head of the Technology investment team Herald Chen and Technology industry team member John Park. Chen serves as chairman of the board.

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In a statement about the appointments, Burns said DeWalt and General Petraeus add a new type of expertise to the board of directors. He said DeWalt brings a long technology background, including sitting as CEO of two major security companies and now sitting on boards of directors of many up-and-coming startups, and General Petraeus brings expertise around global threat intelligence and the public sector.

’Dave and General Petraeus are experts in their respective domains and we are really excited to welcome them to Optiv’s board of directors,’ Burns said in a statement.

In an interview with CRN about the appointment, DeWalt said he was drawn to the opportunity to join Optiv as vice chairman because he thinks the solution provider solves a growing challenge in cybersecurity. As the number of vendors in security explodes and complexity increases, he said customers will more and more turn to companies like Optiv to vet vendors and help them integrate solutions.

"The complexity for clients is off the charts. What I really like about Optiv is I think someone is going to have to take the stage in terms of being an independent, large, focused cybersecurity integrator. … Optiv to me looks like the one that probably has the best opportunity to do that," DeWalt said.

DeWalt said he plans to be "pretty active" in Optiv's day-to-day operations and strategy. He said he will look to help Optiv build up its front-end services and consulting -- like Mandiant from FireEye – as well as its managed services. He said he will also look to help Optiv expand internationally and into the federal market, with the help of General Petraeus. Finally, DeWalt said he will look to strengthen the Optiv brand.

DeWalt said he hopes to help Optiv continue to scale, including potentially through acquisition. He said he hopes to help the company grow to "create a massive platform for cyber," ultimately potentially going for an IPO.

DeWalt said he brings 17 years of experience to his new role as vice chairman, particularly around scaling companies, industry knowledge, and long-standing relationships with product vendors across the market. He said he also hopes to learn from Optiv, as he has only worked for vendors to date.

"I've always been a product guy. Seeing it from the value-added reseller side will be a very unique and different view to learn. I'm excited to learn and bring my experience to bear and hopefully make one plus one equals three," DeWalt said.

The additions come after a year of drastic change for Optiv. The company closed its acquisition by new private equity owners KKR in February. 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.

Optiv has also seen significant executive changes, including the departure of many vice president-level executives since the beginning of the year.

Optiv has also added new executives, including former RSA top sales executive Dave Castignola as executive vice president of worldwide sales; former Symantec global head of strategic partners Anirban Chakravartti as senior vice president, worldwide partner solutions; former Equifax CISO and Dell SecureWorks CSO Doug Steelman as vice president, managed security services; and former D&H CISO Michael Lines as vice president, strategy, risk and compliance advisory services.

Optiv said it plans to continue building its executive team and board of directors. The company said it will look to fill those spots with security experts, as well as build out the set of technologies it can offer to customers.