Palo Alto Networks has appointed ex-Chief Business Officer of Google and former SoftBank executive, Nikesh Arora as its new CEO. He has replaced Mark McLaughlin, who has led the company for nearly seven years and has played a major role in its growth. Mark will now take on the responsibility of the Vice President at Palo Alto.
Nikesh has previously been associated with companies like Google and SoftBank. He held multiple senior operating leadership roles at Google from 2004 to 2014, until he stepped down from the post of Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer. Nikesh has played a huge role in increasing Google’s $2 Bn search business to $60 Bn. He was also Google’s highest-paid executive at that time.
Later, Nikesh joined SoftBank in September 2014 and took charge of its overseas operations. He has been credited with making SoftBank more disciplined about investment exits. He left SoftBank in 2016 following differences between him and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. During his tenure at SoftBank, he made a lot of headlines, from being revealed as the world’s highest paid executive with $100 Mn pay package to the possibility of him succeeding the CEO Masayoshi Son. Nikesh also did a brief stint at Wipro before leaving the country for an MBA program at the Northeastern University in Boston. He has also served on the board of directors of companies like Aviva, Airtel, Colgate-Palmolive and Richemont Sprint.
Nikesh is considered a top operator whom Eric Schmidt, the longtime Google honcho, once described as “the finest analytical businessman I have ever worked with.”
He is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, BHU, Varanasi from where he pursued his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He also holds a degree from Boston College and an MBA from Northeastern University, along with the CFA designation.
(Palo Alto Networks is a decade-old cyber-security giant which currently serves 50,000 companies globally, with an employee base of around 5,000 people.)