McAfee Taps Ex-BMC Software, Polycom Exec Peter Leav As New CEO

Leav will take over Feb. 3 as McAfee CEO from Chris Young, who has led the business since October 2014 and oversaw the practice’s spinout from Intel into a standalone company in April 2017.


McAfee has brought in seasoned tech executive Peter Leav from the outside to lead the platform security giant as it faces an uncertain ownership future.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has appointed Leav, the former CEO of BMC Software and Polycom, as CEO effective Feb. 3. He will take over for Chris Young, who has led the business since October 2014 and oversaw the practice’s spinout from Intel into a standalone company in April 2017.

“I am delighted to be joining McAfee at this exciting time for the company and am looking forward to working with the team to pursue the significant growth opportunities ahead,” Leav said in a statement. “By maintaining the forward-thinking, customer-centric approach that has come to define McAfee, I am confident that we will continue to play a very meaningful role in protecting individuals, businesses and communities.”

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Young will remain at McAfee in an advisory role to assist with the transition and will become a senior advisor at TPG Capital, which has been the majority owner of McAfee since it separated from Intel. Since the split from Intel, Young has aggressively expanded McAfee’s presence in the cloud through organic R&D as well as its November 2017 acquisition of cloud access security broker (CASB) Skyhigh Networks.

“It has been a privilege to work with the McAfee team, and I am very proud of the results we have delivered for our customers, partners, employees and investors,” Young said in a statement. “I look forward to continued involvement with McAfee in an advisory capacity through TPG Capital, and I am confident in the company’s future.”

Leav served as president and CEO of BMC Software from December 2016 to April 2019, and president and CEO of Polycom from December 2013 to September 2016. Prior to joining Polycom, Leav held executive and sales leadership positions at NCR, Motorola, Symbol Technologies, and Cisco. He currently serves on the board of directors at Box and rising email security star Proofpoint.

“Peter has exactly the right mix of experience and expertise to lead McAfee in its next phase of growth,” TPG Co-CEO and McAfee Chairman Jon Winkelried said in a statement. “Leav’s experience successfully scaling enterprise technology businesses, along with his strong innovation track record, will help push McAfee further in its mission to create a safer, more secure cybersphere.”

Reports of TPG Capital’s desire to cede its ownership stake in McAfee have been swirling for more than a year, with the Wall Street Journal reporting last month that the company is looking at combining its own consumer business with the $2.41 billion pure consumer operation of longtime foe NortonLifeLock. In this scenario, the paper said that McAfee’s enterprise operation could end up with a different buyer.

Back in August, Bloomberg had reported that McAfee was working with Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and a full banking syndicate in pursuit of an IPO that could value the company at more than $8 billion. But December’s Wall Street Journal report said the spotty performance of recent technology IPO had prompted McAfee to more seriously consider other options, including an outright sale.

TPG has held a majority stake in McAfee since April 2017, with Intel and private equity firm Thoma Bravo both holding minority stakes. McAfee was valued at $4.2 billion at the time of its spinout from Intel, well below the $7.6 billion Intel initially paid to acquire the company back in 2010.