Steele was the founding CEO of Proofpoint and has overseen the company’s growth from a startup to a publicly-traded security-as-a-service provider.
He will take over as permanent CEO on 11 April following Doug Merritt’s decision to step down in November last year, just five months after Splunk received a billion dollars of private equity funding from Silver Lake Investment.
“Splunk has built one of the most respected brands in tech and is at the forefront of security and observability. I’m honoured to join the company at such an important moment – for both Splunk and the industry. I’ve dedicated my career to helping companies around the world safeguard their data, systems and infrastructure, and know first-hand how critical Splunk’s products and solutions have become to customers as they navigate hybrid, multi-cloud environments with increasingly complex attacks and threat actors.”
Prior to his time at Proofpoint, Steele was CEO of Portera and has also held various leadership roles at Sybase, Sun Microsystems and HP.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that networking giant Cisco put down a takeover offer for Splunk worth more than US$20 billion. The deal would create a security powerhouse that combines Cisco’s strength in network and identity protection with Splunk’s prowess in security operations. A deal would allow Cisco to better compete with Palo Alto Networks, which has network and security operations.