Leadership, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Forescout appoints fourth CEO since 2020, with focus on profitability

Forescout Technologies today announced Barry Mainz, the former chief operating officer at Malwarebytes, will step in as CEO – taking over for Wael Mohamed, who exited day-to-day management after 19 months in the top role. (Photo credit: Forescout)

Forescout Technologies announced on Jan. 24 that Barry Mainz, the former COO at Malwarebytes, will step in as CEO — taking over for Wael Mohamed, who exited day-to-day management after 19 months in the top role.

Mainz appointment follows a tumultuous few years for the company, influenced in part by Forescout’s acquisition by private equity firm Advent International Corp. roughly two years after its IPO.

Forescout disclosed in October last year that Mohamed would be transitioning out of the daily management role with the company’s switch from a perpetual to a recurring revenue model and increased focus on revenue growth and profitability. This strategic shift comes as the market at large has felt some impact from what many perceive as an impending recession.

“We do see the risk in economic metrics, but we’ve had a solid customer base and have gotten a good beat on what we need to do,” said Mainz in an interview with SC Media ahead of today’s announcement. “Specifically, we’re doubling down on building our common platform and taking advantage of the integration of CyberMDX and Cysiv,” two companies recently acquired. He also hinted at upcoming announcements that will serve as a great add-on for the company’s existing customer base, leading to “at least a year in hand in terms of revenue growth and profitability.”

Mainz, who also served as president and CEO of MobileIron for two years and COO for Intel subsidiary Winder River Systems, is the fourth CEO of Forescout in 28 months.

In October 2020, Forescout tapped Greg Clark, the former CEO of Symantec, to replace Michael DeCesare amid the company’s contentious $1.4 billion sale to Advent. And in March 2021, Forescout brought in former Trend Micro President and COO Mohamed to take over as top leader. Clark and Decesare now continue to lead Forescout’s Board.

Mainz’s arrival also follows Forescout’s two rounds of targeted workforce reduction since October last year. The company laid off 100 employees in late October, around the same time when Mohamed announced the exit. And earlier this month, the company fired 100 of its 170 employees at its Israel R&D center, accounting for 10% of its workforce, Calclist reported.

Both leadership shifts and the workforce reduction over the past few months  were largely due to the companies’ public-to-private transition, Clark told SC Media.

“When we took the company private two and a half years ago, the company was very unprofitable, and over the last two and a half years we have returned to profitability,” he said. “This process required some restructuring of the workforce, which we have done. But as we sit here today, we have now gotten to a profitable growth cost basis.”

When SC Media asked the two leaders whether they anticipate additional cuts to staff, Mainz and Clark said that the macroeconomic situation is hard to control, but they expressed belief in their “very sage” board of directors and management team to adjust to changes and weather a potentially difficult economic outlook.

“I would counsel other leaders never to say when walking into economic conditions like this, ‘there will never be any further cost reductions,’” Clark said. That said, he added Forescout “will manage the business in a very sound and responsible manner.”

Along with the release of Mainz’s leadership, the company also announced that Forescout’s technology and product management team will be led by newly promoted Chief Technology Officer Justin Foster, newly hired VP of Product Management Paul Kao, and existing Chief Product Officer and SVP of Engineering Kevin O’Leary. Foster was promoted from CTO of Cysiv which was purchased by Forescout last year, while Kao joined the company after 20 years of cybersecurity experience with Broadcom, Symantec, and BlueCoat.

Menghan Xiao

Menghan Xiao is a cybersecurity reporter at SC Media, covering software supply chain security, workforce/business, and threat intelligence. Before SC Media, Xiao studied journalism at Northwestern University, where she received a merit-based scholarship from Medill and Jack Modzelewski Scholarship Fund.

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