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Centrify To Be Bought, Names Ex-Symantec Head Art Gilliland As CEO

Centrify will have its third owner and fourth top executive in less than three years after the privileged access management vendor agreed to be purchased by TPG and selected Art Gilliland as its next CEO.

Centrify will have its third owner and fourth top executive in less than three years after the company agreed to be purchased by TPG and selected Art Gilliland as CEO.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based privileged access management vendor on Thursday tapped Gilliland, the former head of Symantec Enterprise and CEO of Skyport Systems, to be its next leader. The move comes just seven months after Centrify brought in top CollabNet executive Flint Brenton to serve as its president and CEO. Gilliland will take over once TPG closes its acquisition of Centrify from Thoma Bravo.

“Every organization today is investing in its own digital armor, and its ability to secure privileged access to critical systems and infrastructure is essential to that defense,” Gilliland said. “Many of the largest and most security-conscious organizations in the world trust Centrify’s industry leading PAM [privileged access management] technology to guard their most important accounts.”

[Related: Symantec Head Art Gilliland Out One Year After Broadcom Deal]

Meanwhile, private equity firm TPG’s agreement to acquire a majority stake in Centrify from Thoma Bravo comes just two-and-a-half years after Thoma Bravo bought a controlling stake in the company from venture capital firms Mayfield, Accel Partners, Jackson Square Ventures and Index Ventures.

Three months after buying Centrify, Thoma Bravo announced plans to spin its Identity-as-a-Service business into a stand-alone company called Idaptive and named Tim Steinkopf as Centrify’s next CEO. Steinkopf replaced Tom Kemp, who co-founded Centrify in 2004 and grew the company to nearly 500 employees during his almost 15 years as CEO.

Then in July 2020, Brenton took over as Centrify’s CEO after Steinkopf retired for health reasons. Centrify today employs 306 people, down 9 percent from a year earlier, LinkedIn said. And 16 months after Idaptive spun out from Centrify, Thoma Bravo sold the single sign-on, multifactor authentication and identity life-cycle management services vendor to Centrify rival CyberArk for $70 million.

“We are so proud of what we accomplished in partnership with Flint [Brenton] and the management team at Centrify,” Thoma Bravo Senior Partner A.J. Rhode said in a statement. “We realized our vision of establishing Centrify as a standalone operating company and aggressively invested in our vision of making the company the premier PAM solution for cloud and hybrid environments.”

Gilliland comes to Centrify after leading Symantec through its tumultuous $10.7 billion sale to Broadcom. His second stint with Symantec began in November 2018, when Gilliland joined to oversee the enterprise division’s product and engineering teams, and ended in November 2020 when he became at least the tenth high-ranking Symantec executive to depart since the Broadcom deal was announced.

Once the Broadcom deal closed in November 2019, Gilliland became Symantec’s senior vice president and general manager, where he oversaw the development, delivery and support of all security products and services. Gilliland previously worked at Symantec from early 2006 to mid-2012, culminating in a 15-month stint leading the company’s 1,300-person enterprise information security business.

“We want to thank Flint [Brenton] for all he has done to position the company for ongoing success and look forward to building on this strong momentum in partnership with Art and the rest of the Centrify management team,” TPG Capital Partner Tim Millikin said in a statement. Gilliland wasn’t available immediately for additional comment to CRN.

TPG owns 54.8 percent of McAfee’s Class A stock and 21.6 percent of its Class B stock, and has the right to appoint a majority of the directors serving on McAfee’s board since the San Jose, Calif.-based platform security vendor went public in October, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The private equity firm also led $100 million and $175 million funding rounds for endpoint visibility and control vendor Tanium in May 2017 and May 2018, respectively, as well as a $70 million Series C funding round for Expanse in April 2019 19 months before Palo Alto Networks acquired the attack surface management vendor for $800 million.

“As a result of many accelerating IT trends – including faster digital transformation, accelerated cloud adoption, and agile DevOps practices – enterprises need to manage and protect more privileged accounts than ever before,” Millikin said. “We believe PAM is one of the most important and strategic sub-sectors of security software, and Centrify is a clear market leader in this space.”

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