New FishNet CEO Looks To Grow Services, Geographic Footprint


New FishNet Security CEO Rich Fennessy spent his first week on the job meeting with FishNet employees and charting a growth course for the $700 million solution provider.

"FishNet has been a very successful company," said Fennessy, who was officially tapped as FishNet's CEO on Nov. 11. "Over its 17 years, it has grown very, very significantly and really built some great specializations in the whole security marketplace. And when you really get into that, at the heart of that success, and at the heart of this business, is the people."

Fennessy, former CEO of international solution provider Insight, succeeds FishNet founder and CEO Gary Fish, who announced plans to retire last week but said he will remain with the company as chairman of the board.

[Related: Fennessy Replaces Founder As CEO Of FishNet Security]

Prior to his five-year run at Insight, Fennessy spent 17 years at IBM, where he held multiple executive roles, including general manager of IBM's $12 billion ibm.com e-commerce site. He most recently was CEO and president of eInstruction Corp., a private-equity-owned maker of technology for the education sector.

At FishNet, Fennessy said he will be tasked with carrying out Fish's goal of growing FishNet into a $1 billion company by 2017. To do that, Fennessy said he will place a significant focus on growing FishNet's services organization.

"They have really built up a meaningful services business," Fennessy said of Overland Park, Kan.-based FishNet. "My strategy coming in will be to continue that."

Fennessy said half of FishNet's roughly 700 employees work within the solution provider's services organization today. He declined to say what percentage of FishNet's $700 million in revenue comes from services, but said the company had approximately 2,000 customer service engagements in 2013.

Fennessy also said managed services is the fastest-growing segment of FishNet's overall services organization, growing more than 500 percent year-over-year in 2013. FishNet just opened its second Security Operations Center in Atlanta in a bid to expand the remote monitoring and other managed services offerings already deployed from its original Kansas City location.

Expanding FishNet's geographic footprint is another priority, Fennessy said. He declined to say which geographical segments he plans to target but said FishNet currently has 29 offices in the U.S., and it will continue to expand.

Fresh off FishNet's acquisition of fellow Juniper Networks partner TorreyPoint, Fennessy didn't rule out the possibility of future acquisitions, but he said organic growth would be a priority.

"Acquisitions are clearly part of the strategy, as it makes sense," Fennessy said.

FishNet's management shake-up comes just 10 months after international investment firm Investcorp acquired a majority stake in the company. Fennessy said the management change was not the result of a fall-out between the Investcorp and FishNet executive teams.

"There was none of that at all," Fennessy told CRN. "[Fish] saw the need to bring in some new talent to go take it from the $700 million [business] he grew to $1 billion-plus."

Fennessy is based in Phoenix, Ariz., but said he will commute between Phoenix and FishNet's Kansas City headquarters. "I'll be here as much as the business needs me to be here," Fennessy said.

Senior Editor Rob Westervelt contributed to this story

PUBLISHED NOV. 18, 2013