Splunk appoints Gary Steele as new CEO

The monitoring and security specialist has appointed the ex-Proofpoint CEO in the wake of the surprise departure of Doug Merritt last year.


Splunk has named Gary Steele as its new CEO, three months after the surprise resignation of longtime CEO Doug Merritt.

“The board is focused on identifying a leader with a proven track record of scaling operations and growing multi-billion-dollar enterprises,” Merritt said in a statement at the time.

We now know that leader is Gary Steele, who was the founding CEO of SaaS (software-as-a-service) security vendor Proofpoint, a company he led for nearly 20 years. During that time, Steele navigated both an IPO in 2012 and a private equity buyout from Thoma Bravo last year. He will start on April 11, when he will also take a seat on Splunk’s board.

Best known for its security, logging and monitoring software, Splunk has shifted its business model focus from on-premises toward cloud-based SaaS consumption, which plays to Steele’s strengths.

“Gary is a visionary leader whose software and cybersecurity expertise, deep understanding of SaaS and recurring revenue models, and unwavering commitment to driving innovation and customer success on a global scale will be invaluable to Splunk on our path to $5 billion and beyond,” Splunk’s interim CEO Graham Smith said in a statement.

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