Splunk CEO quits while ahead after 2% revenue growth

splunkAs big data pioneer Splunk reported better than expected quarterly revenues and shares surged by 2%, its leader for the last seven years has announced his retirement.

Splunk CEO Godfrey Sullivan, who successfully steered the software company through an initial public offering in 2012, has stepped down to be replaced by Doug Merritt, a senior VP. However, Sullivan will remain at the company as non-executive chairman and has promised a smooth transition.

Sullivan, previously the boss of Hyperion until it was acquired by Oracle, has steered the company since the days when the value of machine-to-machine (M2M) intelligence and big data analytics were relatively unknown. The Splunk IPO in 2012 was a landmark for the industry, being the first time the public were invited to invest in a company specialising in the then-new concept of big data. Splunk’s IPO was acclaimed as one of most successful tech offerings in the decade with share prices surging 108% on the first day of trading.

Under Sullivan Splunk’s customer base grew from 750 to 10,000 and annual revenues from $18 million to $600 million, according to a Splunk statement. His successor, Merritt, a veteran of SAP, Peoplesoft and Cisco, has been with Splunk since 2011 and said he would work with Godfrey on a smooth transition. “We will continue our laser focus on becoming the data fabric for businesses, government agencies, universities and organisations,” he said.

“Doug brings enormous management, sales, product and marketing skills to his new role,” said Splunk’s lead independent director John Connors. “As senior vice president for field operations for Splunk, Doug has consistently delivered outstanding financial results.”

In its results for the third quarter of financial year 2016 Splunk reported total revenues of $174.4 million, up 50% year-over-year, and ahead of analyst expectations by $14.4million.