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Aviatrix taps former Splunk chief as new CEO

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This article is published by silverliningsinfo.com

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Doug Merritt is back in the driver’s seat. Two years after leaving a role as CEO of analytics software company Splunk, Merritt has taken the reins at cloud networking company Aviatrix.

As of 10 a.m. ET Thursday, there was no press release announcing the change and Merritt had not posted about it on his LinkedIn page. However, Merritt was listed as CEO on Aviatrix’s website while previous CEO Steve Mullaney’s information was removed. Aviatrix confirmed the change in an email to Silverlinings. Mullaney served as CEO since 2019.

An Aviatrix representative told Silverlinings by email Merritt was “the only one we talked to” about the role and made his decision within six weeks of learning about the opening.

In a LinkedIn post that went live after this story’s publication, Mullaney said “My ‘sweet”’ spot as a leader is the $1-$100m revenue stage, and Doug is elite at the $100m-$1B stage.” He added “I have had the honor and privilege of leading this great company for the past 4+ years, and could not be more excited to pass the baton to Doug to take us to the next level.”

A pair of analysts told Silverlinings the transition is sensible. “This CEO change makes sense for a company that is trying to climb toward $1 billion in revenue,” Futuriom’s R. Scott Raynovich said in an email. “Merritt is a known quantity with experience at a public company, so it’s a good time to make that move if you are trying to set up for an IPO.”

Daniel Ives, managing director and senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities, added in separate comments “Doug is a veteran software CEO to take Aviatrix into its next phase of growth. Steve built this into a major hybrid cloud disruptor and Doug is a smart hire in our opinion.”

Merritt most recently served as CEO of Splunk from 2015 to 2021, departing after private equity firm SilverLake invested $1 billion in the company. He was succeeded at Splunk by former Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele.

Before joining Splunk, Merritt spent two years as SVP of Products and Solutions Marketing at Cisco. Earlier roles included executive positions at Baynote and SAP A.G.

Founded in 2014, Aviatrix has raised a total of roughly $350 million in funding from investors, its website states. It was valued at $2 billion as of its most recent funding round. Mullaney told Silverlinings in February 2023 Aviatrix still had $140 million in the bank and was at a “$75 million ARR right now.” The company is widely expected to pursue an initial public offering (IPO) in the near term.

The CEO swap is the latest C-suite change for Aviatrix, which lost its CMO Michael Welts in May. Welts left the company almost exactly a year after being hired in May 2022.

6/22/2023 11:50 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include comments from Futuriom.
6/22/2023 1:43 p.m. ET: This story was updated to include a comment from an Aviatrix representative.
6/22/2023 1:56 p.m. ET This story was updated to include comments from Mullaney’s LinkedIn page.