Palo Alto Networks announced that Nikesh Arora, who served as Google’s chief business officer until 2014, is taking over as CEO of the security company, effective June 6. At Google, Arora helped grow its search business from $2 billion to over $60 billion in revenues, and he led more than 20,000 employees. After Arora left Google, he served as president of SoftBank until 2016.
Palo Alto Networks CEO Mark McLaughlin is staying on as the company’s vice chairman of the board of directors. McLaughlin has served as CEO for almost seven years of the company’s 13-year existence.
During its fiscal third quarter 2018 earnings report this morning, an analyst asked McLaughlin why the company chose a CEO with no specific security experience. McLaughlin said he had been working with the board for several months on a succession plan, and there was no hurry on it. “Security will continue to be our focus,” he said. “Security is something we know genetically.” But he said the landscape is changing with cloud, analytics, massive data sets, and SaaS all factoring into security. Those elements all informed the company’s selection of its next CEO. He said Palo Alto Networks also wanted an “accomplished business leader, somebody who’s culturally a great fit, and somebody experienced with large-scale platforms.” He added, “There are not a lot of those platforms and not a lot of people with that experience.”
For his part, Arora said, “We are still early in the cloud revolution. In the next two decades we’ll see every company having to make that transition.”
Palo Alto Networks reported another strong quarter with revenues growing 31 percent year over year to $567.1 million. Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $95.1 million, or $0.99 per diluted share, compared to $57.1 million, or $0.61 per diluted share in the same quarter a year ago.
McLaughlin said the company now has about 51,000 customers around the world. And he touted its Application Framework, a comprehensive security platform. Palo Alto Networks recently purchased Israel-based Secdo, and that company’s endpoint detection and response capabilities are being folded into Palo Alto Networks’ Traps endpoint protection product and its Application Framework.
Palo Alto Networks is working with more than 50 companies on its Application Framework, and it says that the Application Framework will be production-ready for third-party applications in August 2018.
During the third quarter, Palo Alto Networks also acquired Evident.io for $300 million. Evident.io is a California-based startup that does security for public cloud infrastructure. “With Evident, we now provide continuous monitoring of public cloud deployments,” said McLaughlin at the time of the acquisition.
For its guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter 2018, the company expects total revenue in the range of $625 to $635 million, representing year-over-year growth between 23 percent and 25 percent. It also expects non-GAAP net income per share in the range of $1.15 to $1.17 using 97 to 99 million shares.