Seven-year itch claims Splunk CEO

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

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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