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Palo Alto Networks Grabs NetApp CMO Jean English For Its Own

‘As a technologist, I love to sit on sessions to learn more about a company's technology road map. But in the real world, people want to more about what your story is, and what are you doing with the technology. Jean gave NetApp a story,’ says one solution provider.

Cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks Thursday said it has hired former NetApp executive Jean English as its new chief marketing officer.

English served as storage vendor NetApp's senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the past three years, after a seven-and-a-half-year stint at IBM where she last served as vice president of global marketing for IBM cloud.

James Whitemore, NetApp's vice president of brand and demand marketing, will act as interim CMO in the wake of English's departure, NetApp told CRN.

[Related: Two Top Palo Alto Networks Americas Sales Execs Depart: Sources]

With English, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palo Alto Networks is getting one of the best marketing professionals in the business, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider that works with both NetApp and Palo Alto Networks.  

English came into a NetApp that needed serious help with its marketing, Woodall told CRN.

 

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"NetApp was using a lot of cartoon-based marketing," he said. "It was a low point for the company. But English came in and did an incredible job. She really told a story about NetApp's vision. Out of that came the phrases 'data driven,' 'data visionary,' 'data fabric,' and even 'data thriver.' She was able to focus NetApp around data."

English took NetApp, which everyone knew as a storage company, and made it into a company the industry knew was focused on data, Woodall said.  

"She used to say when she was at IBM, 'Everyone knows IBM for mainframes,'" he said. "If people don't know NetApp is a storage company, they don't know NetApp."

English did a very good job of taking a company like NetApp that really didn’t have a voice in the market and got everybody on board with who the company is and what it is doing, Woodall said.  

"The technology is cool," he said. "And as a technologist, I love to sit on sessions to learn more about a company's technology road map. But in the real world, people want to more about what your story is, and what are you doing with the technology. Jean gave NetApp a story."

Palo Alto Networks did not respond to a CRN request for more information by press time.  

However, the company in a statement said that its current chief marketing officer, Rene Bonvanie, has decided to step away from his marketing responsibilities to better manage a chronic illness, and going forward will serve as executive vice president of strategic accounts.

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