Thoma Bravo completed its $12.3 billion acquisition of Proofpoint last summer.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

March 3, 2022

2 Min Read
CEO's chair and desk, plus nameplate

Gary Steele, who spent the last nearly 20 years as CEO of Proofpoint, is joining Splunk as its new CEO.

Steele also is joining Splunk’s board of directors. He’ll start with the company on April 11. The appointment comes after Doug Merritt stepped down as Spunk’s CEO in November.


Splunk’s Gary Steele

Thoma Bravo completed its $12.3 billion acquisition of Proofpoint last summer. Last month, rumors swirled that Cisco wants to acquire Splunk for $20 billion, potentially creating one of the largest cybersecurity vendors in the world.

Steele was Proofpoint’s founding CEO. He led the company’s growth from an early-stage startup to a publicly traded security-as-a-service provider.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in February.

Prior to Proofpoint, Steele was CEO of Portera and held various leadership roles at Sybase, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Important Moment for Splunk

“Splunk has built one of the most respected brands in tech, and is at the forefront of security and observability,” Steele said. “I’m honored to join the company at such an important moment for both Splunk and the industry. I’ve dedicated my career to helping companies around the world safeguard their data, systems and infrastructure, and know firsthand how critical Splunk’s products and solutions have become to customers as they navigate hybrid, multicloud environments with increasingly complex attacks and threat actors. Splunk is executing against a tremendous opportunity. And I look forward to working with the team to ensure the business reaches its full potential.”

In connection with this announcement, Graham Smith, who has served as Splunk‘s interim CEO, will return to his role as chair of Splunk’s board when Steele joins the company.

“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,” Smith said. “We’re thrilled to welcome Gary to the Splunk team, and look forward to working with him to further scale the business and extend the value we provide our customers and partners.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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