Incoming Splunk CEO Gary Steele on his new role, company outlook

Incoming Splunk CEO Gary Steele on his new role, company outlook


The incoming CEO of Splunk, Gary Steele, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Friday he hopes to be a “stabilizing force” for the company and its customers.

Steele, whose appointment was announced two days ago, is set to take over the data-analytics software maker and join its board April 11. Splunk had been without a permanent CEO since mid-November, when Doug Merritt abruptly stepped down.

Splunk has been working to transition its identity and operations, focusing on cloud subscriptions and away from more traditional on-premise software sales.

“I think that I can be a stabilizing force — a stabilizing force for the company, a stabilizing force for our customers, and deliver this next chapter for the company,” Steele said in an interview on “Mad Money.”

Splunk on Wednesday also reported fourth quarter and full-year fiscal 2022 results. Revenue in the fourth quarter was $901.1 million, much better than the $774.5 million analysts expected, according to FactSet. Its full-year sales guidance of between $3.25 billion and $3.3 billion also was above Wall Street’s estimates.

“I’m stepping in at a great time,” Steele said. “It’s just great positioning, and I think we’ve got a very optimistic path forward.”

Steele was previously chairman and CEO of Proofpoint, a formerly public cybersecurity company that in August was acquired by the private equity firm Thoma Bravo. While at Proofpoint, Steele oversaw more than 70 straight quarters of growth.

“I had a phenomenal run there, just a tremendous experience for me, and I hope to bring a lot of that experience and a lot of those relationships with me,” Steele said.

Graham Smith, who’d been chair of Splunk’s board, has been serving as interim chief. He’ll return to his role on the board.

Splunk shares rose nearly 6% Friday, closing at $129.06 to bring its year-to-date gains to 11.5%. However, the company’s stock has yet to return to where it traded before Merritt’s departure on Nov. 15. It closed at $167.82 in the prior session, on Nov. 12, before falling 18% as investors processed the surprise CEO shakeup.

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