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Blue Coat names new CEO

Veronica C. Silva | Sept. 8, 2011
New challenges include expanding market leadership, increasing revenues.

Blue Coat Systems, a provider of Web security and WAN optimisation, has recently named a new chief executive officer (CEO) to succeed former CEO Michael J. Borman, who has left the company.

Gregory S. Clark, who has management and technical experience, will step in effective 15 September 2011. He was formerly with Australia's Mincom, an enterprise software company that is now part of the ABB Group, a global power and automation technology company.

Clark said one of his priorities is to expand the company market leadership given its technological innovations and customer base.

But he is also expected to take on more challenges as the company also announced disappointing results for its recent first quarter.

Fiscal performance

The announcement of Clark's appointment was timed with the company's announcement of its 2012 first quarter results ending 31 July 2011. The company posted net revenues of US$109.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 compared to US$122.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2011. Compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, which netted US$120.7 million, the first quarter performance was still below expectations.

"Our first quarter results were disappointing as they came in below our expectations," said David W. Hanna, chairman of the board of directors, Blue Coat. "We are taking the necessary actions to reinforce our leadership position in the Web security market, while capitalising on opportunities in the WAN optimisation market based on our strong competitive advantages."

Company officials attributed the fall in profits to a weakness in one of its major markets - the US federal government.

"While we continue to address our go-to-market challenges, product revenue was also impacted by weakness in the U.S. Federal vertical," said Gordon C. Brooks, senior vice president and chief financial officer. "This weakness in product revenue reduced our profitability for the quarter."

Leadership change

Media reports quoted a Blue Coat executive as saying the company needed a change in leadership because of these challenges.  

"Greg is a proven leader with a track record of driving growth and shareholder value," said Hanna.  "Greg has the right combination of technical depth, market insight and managerial skills to enable Blue Coat to capitalise on its strong franchise in Web security and WAN optimisation."

Clark has served in many technology companies, including IBM where he served as IBM Distinguished Engineer responsible for security technology and vice president at Tivoli Systems, which IBM acquired. A former company that he founded, Dascom, was earlier acquired by IBM and became the basis of the Tivoli security product.

While Blue Coat awaits its new CEO, an interim CEO has been named -- Carol G. Mills. Mills has held executive positions at technology companies, including CEO of Acta Technology, executive vice president at Juniper Networks, and vice president/general manager at HP.


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