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Splunk CEO jumps ship, share price slumps despite surging growth

Doug Merritt thanked for service, but no explanation offered for change

Analytics firm Splunk’s CEO Doug Merritt has stepped down, effective immediately, without warning.

A company statement headlined “Splunk Announces CEO Transition” offers no reason for Merritt’s departure.

Indeed, the document offers a good reason to keep him around, by revealing preliminary Q3 2021 revenue of “approximately $660 million, representing 19 per cent year over year growth.”

The document offers the usual platitudes about Merritt’s tenure and reveals that while Splunk looks for a replacement board chair Graham Smith will take on the job of CEO. Merritt will stay on an advisor to ease the transition.

So why has Merritt left? The Register has a theory: the document thanks the former CEO for efforts that “enabled the company to become the leading data platform across Security, Observability and IT.”

But Splunk has long stated its ambitions to bust out of the IT ghetto and into the wider analytics market to serve HR, marketing, and finance teams.

Splunk has competition galore in that endeavour. Maybe Merritt wasn’t seen as the right leader to get the company there? Or to lead a company of the scale required to serve more niches?

Whatever the reason for his departure, investors hate it: Splunk’s share price slumped 18 per cent on news of the former CEO’s departure. ®

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