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Okta Hires New Channel Chief After Sudden Departure Of Previous Partner Boss

Jay Fitzgerald

Bill Hustad (pictured), formerly of Splunk, replaces Steve Dodenhoff, who recently left the cybersecurity company after just 15 months as head of worldwide partners and alliances at Okta.

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Identity giant Okta is experiencing yet more turnover within its top executive ranks.

The San Francisco-based company Thursday said that Bill Hustad, until recently vice president of alliances and channel ecosystems at Splunk, has been named its new senior vice president of global partners and alliances.

Hustad replaces Steve Dodenhoff, who quietly left the company just 15 months after he became Okta’s head of worldwide partners and alliances.

Dodenhoff’s departure is just the latest in a series of high-level executive exits from Okta. In February, Okta’s chief marketing officer, Kendall Collins, left the company after less than a year in the post.

Last year, the publicly traded Okta suddenly lost its CFO, causing consternation among some investors. Meanwhile, Okta has also recently lost its president of technology and senior vice president of product management, according to published reports.

Dodenhoff, who could not be reached for comment, indicated on his LinkedIn page that he left Okta in June. His new status is listed as “IT Industry Executive, Operator, and Advisor.”

“We can confirm that Steve Dodendoff left Okta to pursue other opportunities,” Okta said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

In his new role, Hustad, who officially joined Okta last month, will lead the company’s global partner team and be responsible for Okta’s indirect go-to-market strategy, execution and bookings globally, the company said in a blog post Thursday announcing Hustad’s appointment.

“I believe Okta has a tremendous opportunity given the dynamic nature of the market,” Hustad said in the blog post. “From multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, remote workforce and the proliferation of applications, identity is at the heart of it all. I know that Okta is the core engine of any company.”

Hustad, a longtime tech industry veteran who spent five years at Splunk, said he’s excited to join a company committed to Software as a Service (SaaS).

“What I found really compelling and interesting about Okta is that it’s 100 percent SaaS and the opportunity for partners to win is great,” he said. “If you think about where and how identity fits into the middle of transformation around the world right now—from remote work to edge and hybrid cloud—it’s becoming an integral part of how companies are really making sure they’re creating the productivity they need, and also the security.”

In an interview with CRN, Hustad said he’s been heavily involved with SaaS in the past and it’s one of the main reasons for his jump to Okta. “It just all added up,” he said.

He stressed he’s committed to growing Okta’s channel business, saying he wants to spend lots of time with partners to gauge their views of its channel programs and other matters.

Okta wouldn’t disclose how much of its business comes via the channel.

In the first quarter of 2022, Okta saw its revenue soar by 65 percent to $415 million compared with the same quarter in 2021. But the company continued to lose money in the first quarter ended April 30, with its non-GAAP income loss hitting $43 million, up from its non-GAAP loss of $13 million in the same quarter in 2021.

Like other tech companies, Okta’s shares have been hit hard over the past year on Wall Street, falling from a 52-week high of $276 per share to as low as $77. But most investors remain confident about Okta’s growth, recently pushing its shares back up to the $105 range.

In the company’s blog post, Steve Rowland, CRO of Okta, praised Hustad’s business and leadership skills.

“He is a multidimensional thinker known for driving long-term growth with strong business development practices across geographic and market segments,” Rowland said.

“Bill is well-known in the industry for his standout leadership and experience in driving successful partner programs.”

A representative for Splunk said no announcement has been made yet about a replacement for Hustad.

“We are grateful for Bill’s many contributions to Splunk and wish him all the best,” the company said. “Splunk has a deep bench of talent, and we’re excited by the recent appointment of Katie Bianchi as Chief Customer Officer, as well as a number of recent senior hires. We remain confident in the tremendous opportunity ahead for Splunk and our partners and customers.“

Jay Fitzgerald

Jay Fitzgerald is a senior editor covering cybersecurity for CRN. Jay previously freelanced for the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Boston magazine, Banker & Tradesman, MassterList.com, Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, the National Bureau of Economic Research and other entities. He can be reached at jfitzgerald@thechannelcompany.com.

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