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Seven-year itch claims Splunk CEO

Godfrey Sullivan steps down, effective immediately, leaving a profitable loss behind

Splunk CEO Doug Merritt
New Splunk CEO Doug Merritt

Splunk CEO and president Godfrey Sullivan has retired.

Sullivan's successor is Doug Merritt, previously senior veep for field operations at Splunk and a former senior exec at Cisco and PeopleSoft. Sullivan will hang around as non-executive Board chair and "will continue to work closely with the Board and with Merritt to ensure a smooth transition and implementation of the company's long-term strategy."

That strategy's gone rather well under Sullivan's leadership: when he joined in 2008 Splunk had 750 customers and US$18 million of annual revenue. Today's corresponding numbers are 10,000+ and "nearly $600 million."

Splunk chose to announce Sullivan's departure on the day it also announced its Q3 2015 results. The company lost US$73 million, or 57 cents a share, on sales of $174.4 million. But once all the financial gymnastics had been completed and a non-GAAP result calculated, that translated into a profit of five cents a share. That outcome, and the sales result, both beat the street, leaving the board and investors reportedly chuffed even if Sullivan's departure after a very successful seven-year stint is saddening.

Splunk stock finished the day at US$62.76, up $0.84 cents or 1.36 per cent, so Sullivan's departure clearly isn't seen as a worry. ®

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