Former McAfee Chief DeWalt Named FireEye CEO, Aims for 2013 IPO

Photograph by Francis Specker/Bloomberg

Former McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt is taking the helm of FireEye, which may go public next year.

Dave DeWalt, the former chief executive officer of antivirus software maker McAfee, has taken the top job at security startup FireEye and plans an initial public offering in the first half of next year.

DeWalt, 48, left McAfee in July 2011 after Intel agreed to buy the company for $7.68 billion. Since then, he has been considered as a CEO contender at other security companies, including Palo Alto Networks, which had an IPO in July.

He joined the board of Milpitas, California-based FireEye in June as chairman. DeWalt said he was attracted to FireEye because its technology, which runs incoming threats through “virtual” computers to assess the risk, is “radically different” than traditional security options such as antivirus software. Watching Palo Alto Networks gain more than 30 percent since its IPO helped lure DeWalt to FireEye.

“I’ve had other CEO opportunities, but what I see in FireEye is a revolutionary change in the way intrusion detection works,” DeWalt said in an interview. FireEye has more than 400 employees and more than $100 million in annual bookings, DeWalt said. Sales are doubling annually, he said.

Customers include financial services provider Equifax, student loan company Sallie Mae, the U.S. Department of Defense and Internet infrastructure provider Juniper Networks, according to FireEye’s website.

FireEye raised $51 million in venture funding from firms including Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.

DeWalt said his top priority now is an IPO.

“The company is ready,” he said.

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