McAfee Channel Chief Leaves For New Job


Alex Thurber, senior vice president of McAfee's worldwide channel operations, has left the company to head sales at Tripwire, a Portland, Ore.-based enterprise security software company.

Thurber said in an interview with CRN that he left McAfee Friday to become vice president of sales at Tripwire, where he started work on Monday, a week before the company holds its annual sales meeting.

"It was definitely a personal decision," Thurber said. "I wouldn't say it was just to make more money, but to expand my career opportunities and to move up closer to my children." Thurber, a divorcee, also said the move to Portland brought him into the same city as his two teenage children. Thurber lived in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thurber's replacement has not been announced. McAfee declined comment, saying a formal announcement would be made Tuesday.

In his new job, Thurber reports directly to James B. Johnson, president and chief executive of the 350-employee Tripwire, which does not disclose revenue. The company's technology is used to monitor an enterprise's IT systems to ensure that they are in compliance with corporate policy. CRN named Tripwire Enterprise 8.0 a security product to watch in 2011.

Tripwire was acquired last year by San Francisco-based, private equity firm Thoma Bravo. The acquisition gave Tripwire additional money to build its portfolio of products and expand operations in Europe and the U.S. Tripwire has more than 5,700 customers in 94 countries. Almost half of its customers are Fortune 500 companies.

Tripwire sells primarily through a direct sales force. The company's expansion plans in Europe include building a channel program, an effort that started last year, Thurber said. In the U.S., direct sales will remain the primary strategy. "As we move forward, we'll look to see where we can add incremental business with the channel," Thurber said. "We have a very strong and sophisticated sales force and I have no interest in changing that."

Thurber joined McAfee after a nearly 10-year career at San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, where he was a security sales specialist and regional manager before becoming managing director of channel for Japan. When he left Cisco in 2009, Thurber was senior director of sales strategy for worldwide channels.

Andrew Plato, president of Beaverton, Ore.-based Anitian Enterprise Security, a McAfee reseller, said he wasn't surprised Thurber left McAfee for a smaller company. "Thurber was a big fish in a reasonably large pond. When Intel bought McAfee, he became a lot smaller fish."

Gary Fish, president and chief executive of McAfee reseller FishNet Security, based in Kansas City, Mo., said Thurber didn't seem to have a high profile in McAfee after Intel acquired the company last year for almost $7.7 billion. "He wasn't that visible," Fish said. "It didn't seem like he was getting pushed as part of the executive management team, so it doesn't surprise me."

Fish and Mark Sollazo, president and chief executive of reseller SynerComm, Brookfield, Wis., said the channel program ran well under Thurber. Both companies are top resellers within McAfee's three-tier channel program. "I thought he did a really nice job," Sollazo said.