ExtraHop Snags Ex-EMC COO Patrick Dennis As New CEO

‘I wanted to get back into cybersecurity. I love the space. There‘s a sense of mission here. There’s real work to do for your customers that‘s impactful to their businesses,’ new ExtraHop CEO Patrick Dennis tells CRN.


ExtraHop has selected former EMC and Oracle executive Patrick Dennis as CEO to expand the company’s international presence and provide threat detection for cloud workloads.

The Seattle-based network detection and response vendor has tasked Dennis with growing ExtraHop’s enterprise business and expanding innovation in the cloud security arena. Dennis replaces Arif Kareem, who had served as ExtraHop’s president and CEO since July 2016 and spearheaded the company’s July 2021 sale to private equity firms Bain Capital and Crosspoint Capital for $900 million.

“There’s this deep technology [at ExtraHop] that brings you more consistent and more comprehensive visibility into your environment, even when all your employees are starting to adopt a work from anywhere mindset,” Dennis told CRN. “It’s really this intersection of the businesses needing to move to digital transformation more quickly … that I saw as the real opportunity for ExtraHop to help.”

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[Related: Bain, Crosspoint To Buy Cybersecurity Firm ExtraHop For $900M]

Dennis is looking to deepen ExtraHop’s presence among customers with sophisticated and mature security offerings such as large banks, large retailers, and gaming and casino establishments. These engagements tend to have longer sales cycles and require a more customer-centric approach to determining whether clients are looking for just equipment and software or also want to stack services.

“We have a real opportunity for growth in enterprise,” Dennis said. “What you’re going to see us do is be thoughtful and systematic about how we assess the opportunity in enterprise and then how we go after the rest of the market.”

ExtraHop also wants to leverage MSPs to serve the upper mid-market, using the channel to support customers that don’t have the technology or level of investment in their own security operations to deploy the company’s technology themselves, Dennis said. More than 90 percent of ExtraHop’s business goes through the channel, and the company historically has worked most closely with VARs.

The company wants to form or strengthen relationships with MSPs and larger systems integrators (SIs) to create more comprehensive solutions and give ExtraHop more reach in segments it might not be able to reach otherwise. ExtraHop can access many opportunities inside an MSP’s customer base, and the same benefits ExtraHop gives large enterprises can be delivered to slightly smaller customers via MSPs.

“The channel has got a friend at the helm,” Dennis said. “I’m friendly to the channel and the channel has been good to me.”

Dennis spent 15 years leading long-range planning, M&A, and strategy for EMC’s Enterprise and Mid-Range Storage and Cloud Management Divisions, and two years running go-to-market for Oracle’s North American commercial business. Since then, Dennis was CEO of Guidance Software – which was acquired by OpenText – and Aspect Software, which merged with Noble Systems to form Alvaria Software.

“I wanted to get back into cybersecurity. I love the space,” said Dennis, who was most recently in cybersecurity from 2015 to 2017 as Guidance’s CEO. “There’s a sense of mission here. There’s real work to do for your customers that‘s impactful to their businesses.”

At ExtraHop, Dennis will work with the company’s board of directors as well as co-founders Jesse Rothstein and Raja Mukerji – who currently serve as chief technology officer and chief customer officer, respectively – to accelerate key strategic priorities for the business.

“Patrick’s deep experience leading public and private companies in cybersecurity, combined with his customer-focused approach to leadership, make him a natural fit for ExtraHop,” Bain Capital Partner Marisa Femenia said in a statement. “His expertise in growth acceleration, combined with ExtraHop’s technical superiority in the market, sets the stage for a truly exciting period for the company.”

ExtraHop enjoyed strong growth in 2021, with annual recurring revenue (ARR) surging 47 percent to nearly $140 million driven by 54 percent growth in new customer acquisition. The company also grew international sales by 44 percent thanks to a growing presence in Japan, Germany, Australia, and the Middle East.

The company said its Reveal(x) 360 platform gives security teams the ability to hunt threats, detect malicious activity, and respond and remediate quickly everywhere the business operates. ExtraHop also offers services that identify devices vulnerable to zero days like Log4Shell as well as incident response capabilities that quickly determine the blast radius and prioritize keeping the business running.

From a metrics standpoint, Dennis said he plans to closely monitor annual recurring revenue (ARR) and bookings growth as well as retention and churn rates to make sure customers aren’t downsizing or discontinuing services. Dennis also intends to track the number of net new customers ExtraHop is bringing on as well as international sales growth to make sure the global opportunity is being captured.

“I‘ve never had this feeling when taking a job,” Dennis said. “I known that I’ve been qualified for jobs in the past, but this is different. This is pretty special.”