Ivanti Promotes Jeff Abbott To CEO To Drive Hypergrowth

Automation platform provider Ivanti promoted second-in-command Jeff Abbott to CEO to continue driving an organic and acquisition-based growth strategy. 

The South Jordan, Utah-based company credited Abbott with helping more than double the size of the company’s revenue to over $1 billion during his 18 months as president, where he oversaw product development, product management, marketing, global sales, customer experience, and operations. Abbott take over for Jim Schaper, who – like Abbott – joined Ivanti at the start of 2020 from Infor.

“Jeff is a natural leader and has been instrumental in helping Ivanti achieve the success we have realized the last two years, and I’m excited to watch Ivanti continue to growth at an accelerated rate under his leadership,” Schaper said in a statement. “This transition was always part of our plan when we both came to Ivanti, and I am confident in Jeff’s ability to continue to deliver on the course we have set.”

Under Schaper and Abbott’s tenure, Ivanti has been extremely acquisitive in the cybersecurity space, buying unified endpoint management provider MobileIron for $871 million and secure access vendor Pulse Secure for a reported $530 million in December and vulnerability management and prioritization vendor RiskSense in August. Ivanti bought enterprise service management provider Cherwell Software in March. 

Despite all the acquisitions and revenue growth, Ivanti’s headcount has remained relatively steady under Schaper and Abbott’s watch, growing just 7 percent from 2,652 at the start of their tenure to 2,843 today, according to LinkedIn. Ivanti is backed by private equity firms Clearlake Capital Group, TA Associates, and Charlesbank Capital Partners, and didn’t respond to a CRN request for comment. https://4e4462f9bbebe16106ad52113ca823a5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“We are thrilled to partner with Jeff as CEO and complete our leadership succession plan, and we are highly confident he is the right person with the right expertise to lead Ivanti forward in its next chapter,” the PE firms said in a joint statement. “We thank Jim for his contributions to Ivanti and the incredible growth and transformation that he, Jeff, and the entire Ivanti organization have been able to drive.” 

The inorganic growth has not been without its challenges, with the Biden administration warning in April that the Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) hackers behind the SolarWinds attack were exploiting publicly known software vulnerabilities on Pulse Connect Secure to gain initial footholds on victim devices and networks. 

The SVR was specifically taking advantage of a vulnerability found in Pulse Connect Secure that allows unauthenticated remote attackers to perform arbitrary file reads, according to the National Security Agency, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the FBI. Ivanti said it regularly works with Pulse Secure customers to rapidly install available patches that address previously known vulnerabilities.

“I joined Ivanti because I saw an opportunity to address the needs of IT and employees by supporting the future of work and making the Everywhere Workplace possible,” Abbott said in a statement. “Now more than ever, user expectations are high and there is a very real threat of cyberattacks, all driving an even stronger need for our solutions.”

Ivanti has doubled down on the channel under Abbott, bringing in ex-VMware go-to-market leader Erik Randles in February to integrate the Ivanti, MobileIron and Pulse Secure partner programs together. Randles was tasked with taking the more than 10,000 partners across the three firms and creating a three-tiered partner program that incentivizes cross-selling and rewards the most committed partners. 

Abbott will join Ivanti’s board of directors alongside former HelpSystems CEO Chris Helm and former HelpSystems CFO Day Mayleben. Like Ivanti, HelpSystems has recently been extremely aggressive in the cybersecurity acquisition arena, buying threat management company Digital Defense in February as well as vulnerability assessment vendor Beyond Security and email security firm Agari in May. 

“Chris and Dan bring tremendous expertise to the Ivanti board in helping software companies scale,” Abbott said in a statement. “They have an excellent track record working closely with management teams to catapult companies into the next phase of growth … We look forward to leveraging their deep expertise and strategic insights to enhance our journey.”

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