Sophos has named Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) veteran Kris Hagerman as CEO, succeeding Steve Munford. Hagerman, also a Corel veteran, joins Sophos as the anti-virus, endpoint security and unified threat management (UTM) company pushes into mobile device management and cloud encryption services. Hagerman also leaps into a market where big companies are making big changes.

Apax Partners, a private equity firm, acquired majority interest in Sophos in May 2010. Sophos has undergone multiple changes since that time but there has been a consistent, laser-like focus on the channel. Emmanuelle Skala was named channel chief in April 2012. And in recent months, channel partners have been cross selling Sophos's endpoint security and UTM solutions (acquired in the Astaro acquisition).

From Millions... To Billions?

Now, Hagerman appears to be joining Sophos in a quest to further accelerate growth. Under previous CEO Steve Munford, Sophos grew annual bookings to $400 million in 2012, more than triple since 2006, the company said. Munford remains on the Sophos board.

Hagerman, meanwhile, previously oversaw Symantec's data center management business, which had $1.5 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees at the time. And during his career at Veritas, company revenues surged from $1 billion to $2 billion before the acquisition by Symantec, Sophos indicated.

Read between the lines and Apax Partners seems to be signaling that Hagerman is the right choice to lead Sophos as the company seeks a path toward $1 billion in annual bookings.

Still, competition -- and industry change -- lurks around every corner. All of the major IT security companies now promote service provider licensing to help resellers push into the managed services and cloud services markets. At the same time, security companies continue to make executive moves. A few examples:
  • Symantec named Steve Bennett as its new CEO in July, and Channel Chief John Eldh also is new to the post this year. Symantec is set to host a Partner Engage conference next week.
  • Kaspersky Lab is sharpening its focus on virtualization security, working closely with VMware. CEO Eugene Kaspersky also is focused on a new, secure operating system project.
  • McAfee recently launched an MSP-centric partner program while also offering channel partners new bundled incentives.
  • Trend Micro seems to be rekindling its channel partner program, and reestablishing its footprint with MSPs in particular. Plus, the company recently launched a new cloud-oriented security service.
It's a safe bet Sophos will remain channel-centric under new CEO Hagerman. The bigger question: How long does Apax Partners plan to own Sophos? The VAR Guy is poking around for answers.