2:00 PM -- Yesterday's story on eEye's Blink Personal Internet Security tool is oddly ironic now. (See Security App Protects Against Windows Attack.) The very same day the company was touting that it could protect Windows users from the latest zero-day attack with the new tool as well as a temporary patch for the OS, it let Ross Brown, its CEO since last June, go.
It was a bizarre chain of events, for sure. Brown had been the front man for the Blink announcement, but late yesterday, security gurus were pondering his seemingly sudden departure in mailing list posts. And as of this blog posting, the eEye Website had no mention of Brown's departure: he's still listed as CEO in the executive bios. No mention of Kamal Arafeh, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, who has now taken over the helm at the privately held company.
Sources close to the company say the eEye board of directors decided Brown just wasn't a fit for the top job at the security company, which has undergone churn in the past few weeks with a handful of researchers leaving for other security firms. Sources say Brown's move had nothing to do with financial performance, however, as eEye just registered a record first quarter.
I spoke with Brown today, and he says he and members of the board had been in discussions about his leaving, so yesterday's sacking wasn't the surprise the blogosphere made it appear. "eEye is a great company. We have built an executive team that's doing" very well, he says. "The new CEO has been a friend of mine for ten years, and he'll be a fantastic guy for the day-to-day execution of building a revenue base."
News of Brown's leaving came via an employee leak in a blog, according to Brown, so we have yet to hear eEye's public announcement.
Brown says the timing was right for him to go because the products are now solid, and it's time for eEye's leadership to look at mergers and acquisitions or other team-building business for the company. He and his wife have already started a new firm, Peak Consulting, a role that harkens back to Brown's channel marketing roots. And he says he's looking forward to spending more time with his eight-month-old daughter since he won't be traveling as much.
So was Brown's departure a mutual decision between him and eEye? "These things are never black and white," he says. The board didn't just walk up to him and ask me to leave, he says. "I had been talking to them for a period prior."
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading