F5 poaches Ciena exec for CEO in potential refocus

F5 Networks has announced François Locoh-Donou will start as its new CEO, effective April 3, which may indicate a shift in focus from the business.

Locoh-Donou will take over from current President and CEO, John McAdam, who will retire but still remain on the Board of Directors. Locoh-Donou joins from Ciena, an organization with a slightly different outlook from F5. While F5 has built its reputation in enterprise network, application acceleration and latterly network security, the introduction of an exec with a broader network strategy background could indicate wider ambitions.

Ciena has carved itself out a reputation as a useful company in the SDN and NFV space, an area which F5 has flirted with in recent years, but failed to make any meaningful impact. Whether such an appointment indicates F5 are making a more concerted effort in the virtualization segment remains to be seen, though the Locoh-Donou certainly provides a different perspective on the industry.

“What attracted us from the beginning of the CEO selection process was François’ multidisciplinary and multinational experience, ranging from product development to operations to sales,” said McAdam. “His track record at Ciena demonstrates he possesses the foresight and leadership to execute major market transitions, without compromising the best of a company’s technical heritage or strong organizational culture.”

“At a time when F5 is expanding its partnerships and products into cloud and security markets, François brings a renewed sense of purpose to F5’s original vision: applications without constraints,” said Al Higginson, Chairman of F5’s Board of Directors. “On behalf of the Board, we thank John for his 16 years at the helm of F5. The company’s success is due in such a large part to his unflagging attention to the needs of F5’s employees, customers and shareholders.”

Locoh-Donou currently serves as SVP and Chief Operating Officer of Ciena, having held multiple positions at the company previously. He also serves on the advisory board of Jhpiego, a non-profit global health affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.

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