Splunk CEO Gary Steele On Digital Resilience, The Pace Of Innovation And A Peek At This Week’s .Conf23

It has been 15 months since Gary Steele assumed the leadership of Splunk, taking over as president and CEO in April 2022 during a time of transition for the unified security and observability platform developer.

Since taking the reins at Splunk, Steele has installed a new leadership team, worked to improve efficiency and business execution, steadied the company’s sometimes uneven financial performance, and accelerated the pace of innovation.

Steele has also had to guide Splunk through a year of macroeconomic uncertainty that included layoffs in February of about 325 employees—about 4 percent of its workforce

Steele joined Splunk following the sudden resignation of CEO Doug Merritt in November 2021. Merritt’s departure came after Splunk had struggled through a revenue decline and periods of negative operating cash flow in fiscal 2021 at the height of the pandemic. In June 2021 private equity giant Silver Lake provided Splunk with a cash infusion with a $1 billion investment.

For its fiscal 2023 ended Jan. 31, 2023, Splunk reported revenue of $3.65 billion, up nearly 37 percent from $2.67 billion in fiscal 2022. In its fiscal 2024 first quarter ended April 30, 2023, the company reported revenue of $751.5 million, up more than 11 percent from $674.1 million one year before. Most notable in the quarter was a 16 percent gain in annual recurring revenue and a 243 percent increase in operating cash flow—key metrics that Steele is keeping an eye on.

Splunk has also been stepping up its channel efforts, including hiring former Microsoft executive Gretchen O’Hara as its new channel chief in October 2022.

This week Splunk is holding its Splunk .conf23 partner and customer event in Las Vegas where the focus is on providing customers with digital resilience through the Splunk unified cybersecurity and observability platform—capabilities that Steele says customers need to maintain the security and performance of their digital transformation initiatives.

Steele spoke with CRN on the eve of Splunk .conf23 to talk about his first year as Splunk president and CEO, the changes he has launched within the company, his focus on accelerating innovation, and his expectations for this week’s Splunk .conf23 event. 

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 Learn About Rick Whiting


Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at [email protected].


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