I’ve been a Splunker for over 7 years now. During that time, I’ve had a front row seat for some incredibly exciting, and frankly career-defining moments. Having said that, it’s pretty rare that I take advantage of this resource to share my own observations and stories with our Splunk Blogs’ audience. As head of our social media program, the majority of my focus is helping make sure the real subject matter experts and those with interesting stories to tell, have the tools and enablement to do so. But when I - along with every other Splunk employee - received the below message from our newly announced CEO, Gary Steele, expressing his excitement for joining our company, I felt compelled to share on our blog.
Yes, he is talking directly to our employees but as someone who has been to multiple .conf events and spoken with countless customers and Splunk devotees, I really wanted to share our mutual enthusiasm with you all too because I know how much you’d appreciate it.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for us here at Splunk.
Reading this email, neither can Gary.
An Exciting New Chapter Together!
Splunkers, it’s my honor to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you. I’m excited to join your amazing company, and since the official announcement has gone out this afternoon, I wanted to make a direct introduction here.
I’ve spent the last 35+ years in the tech industry, where I’ve turned a love of finding new ways to approach problems into a career. I got my start at Hewlett-Packard as a software engineer and worked my way up the ranks. I then spent the better part of a decade in leadership positions at Sun Microsystems and Sybase before starting my first CEO role at a private SaaS company called Portera. Four years later, I was recruited to serve as founding CEO of Proofpoint, a SaaS security company that protects business from advanced threats and compliance risks. I’ve led the company for 19 years while helping to grow it into one of the best-known security brands in the world. So why is Splunk my next adventure, and what can I bring to the company you all have worked so hard to build?
I’ll give you three reasons as to why I am excited to become the next CEO of Splunk. First, Splunk is an essential partner to organizations undergoing rapid and ambitious digital transformation. A lot of leaders understand that data is how we build a better world, but very few have really figured out how to leverage valuable and expanding data resources. Splunk’s world-class security and observability solutions deliver a cohesive approach and bring both the resiliency and innovation that every organization needs. But the ground shifts constantly. As every business rethinks its applications, evolves its architecture and elevates how it serves its customers, companies like Splunk must continue to rapidly innovate to capture this huge potential. I want to be a part of that.
Second, I bring the right combination of solid experience and ambition to grow. I come with a deep background in cybersecurity, and I’m also very excited about Splunk’s observability offerings. The rapid growth of the observability space as essential in a hybrid, multicloud world has been breathtaking, and, as with security, Splunk has positioned itself to lead.
Finally, there’s each of you. Splunk has not only hugely enthusiastic customers, but a vibrant internal culture powered by 7,500 smart, committed, highly engaged Splunkers. When I interviewed with the Board, I used only five slides to talk about my vision, and one of them stated my firm commitment to preserve the soul of Splunk. We must embrace the values that have made Splunk great and build on them as we transform and scale.
But you all know why Splunk is great. A better question is, what do I bring as CEO?
I start with a deep respect for what Splunk has accomplished already. I’ve known Doug for years and I’ve long admired Splunk’s success under his leadership. I took Proofpoint public on April 20, 2012, one day after Splunk’s IPO. I’m personally very excited to again lead a public company, especially one with the broad market potential I just described. And to start just days before the 10-year anniversary of both IPOs feels perfect.
At Proofpoint, I saw my role as number-one customer advocate, bringing customer feedback to every conversation. The best products come from connecting customer needs to market trends, and building that into a smart product and a compelling customer experience. It’s not easy to connect all those dots, but it will be central to my work at Splunk.
I’ll start my tenure next month by talking with customers and employees — getting smarter about your company and your business. After that, will there be change? Of course. Splunk is committed to change, with our ambitious cloud transformation and goal of $5 billion and beyond. But let me leave you with some core things that you can count on:
I am a team player, and I’ve never shied away from a tough problem, so I’ll never ask another Splunker to work any harder than me, or to take on challenges that I wouldn’t tackle myself. I’m going to live and breathe the values of the company, and hold myself and us accountable to them. And I tend to be non-hierarchical, very direct, so I look forward to regularly connecting with a lot more of you than you might expect.
Splunk is already deep into a period of tremendous transformation, and despite that intense work, plus leadership changes and two years of worldwide instability, you’ve just finished a record fiscal year, crossing the $3 billion ARR mark and projecting $3.9 billion ARR for FY23. As I get my feet under me, and we continue our transformation, I ask that you embrace the rest of this journey. There’s a lot of fun ahead for us. We’re going to continue to deliver amazing value to customers, and we’re going to win in the market.
Come April 11th, I will officially join you and begin to earn the right to call myself a “Splunker.” I’m looking forward to meeting you, learning from you, and leading us all into Splunk’s next chapter.