Endpoint Security , Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) , Security Operations

Sophos' Kris Hagerman Steps Down as CEO; Joe Levy Takes Helm

Hagerman Moves to Advisory Role After Leading Company for the Past 12 Years
Sophos' Kris Hagerman Steps Down as CEO; Joe Levy Takes Helm
Sophos named Joe Levy president and acting CEO.

Sophos is one of the seasoned veterans of the cybersecurity solutions market, cutting its teeth on antivirus software back in 1985. Over the past 12 years, CEO Kris Hagerman has led the U.K.-based firm through an IPO in 2015 and "a period of dramatic growth" that tripled the company's revenues to over $1 billion and expanded its customer base from 150,000 to over 580,000 worldwide.

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But competition and market changes forced a sale to private equity firm Thoma Bravo in 2020. Subsequent restructuring included two rounds of layoffs. Changes at Sophos ultimately affected Hagerman, who - the company announced on Thursday - stepped down as CEO and will transition to an advisory role until April 1. Long-time Sophos executive Joe Levy, who has nearly three decades of experience in cybersecurity products and services, is the new president and acting CEO, "effective immediately."

Hagerman did not provide a reason for leaving but said in the statement: "I am proud of our team's accomplishments ... I am excited to pass the baton to Joe Levy," who joined Sophos in 2015 and most recently served as the endpoint security vendor’s president of technology. Hagerman said Levy "has my full and enthusiastic support" (see Sophos to Lay Off 10% of Workers Amid Shift to MDR Services).

Levy's tenure at Sophos has been marked by transformative initiatives, such as driving the company's shift to cybersecurity as a service. He was instrumental in developing Sophos X-Ops, a threat intelligence unit that enhanced the company's defenses. "Our immediate goal is to work with our partners to expand our ability to secure organizations. The vision is that we are all more secure as more of us are secure," Levy said.

Thoma Bravo, Sophos' parent company, acknowledged Hagerman's contributions to Sophos' success and expressed confidence in Levy's capabilities to lead the company forward. This leadership transition occurs amid challenging times for Sophos, which 13 months ago announced the industry's second-largest round of layoffs, affecting 10% of its workforce or about 450 employees.

Levy has been leading a major business initiative underway at Sophos since the Thoma Bravo take-private deal - a shift toward delivery of managed detection and response and other services and transformation "from a product-only vendor into the global cybersecurity-as-a-service company." He is also credited with helping to create an operational threat intelligence unit called Sophos X-Ops - now a 500-person team that joins cross-departmental cybersecurity operators and threat intelligence experts to provide real-time and historical attack data for customers.

Sophos said its overall managed services now defend more than 20,000 customers.

"Our research indicates that midmarket and smaller organizations are increasingly in the crosshairs of attackers," Levy said. "The interconnectedness of the modern world, with these underprotected segments as its critical substrate, leaves us all exposed to the direct or indirect risk. The best way to reach all these organizations is to arm managed security providers and cyber-focused channel partners worldwide - those capable of operating cost-effectively at massive global scale - with innovative security technologies and services they can resell or co-deliver" (see Sophos X-Ops Debuts to Thwart Complex Cyberattacks).

In a LinkedIn post Thursday, Hagerman did not discuss future plans but said simply, "Onward!" He also extended "a heartfelt thank you to all our Sophos team members, our global network of channel partners, and our investor Thoma Bravo for the privilege to lead such a great company" (see Sophos' Kris Hagerman on Powering Cybersecurity as a Service).

About the Author

Cal Harrison

Cal Harrison

Editorial Director, ISMG

Harrison helps ISMG readers gain new perspectives on the latest cybersecurity trends, research and emerging insights. A 30-year veteran writer and editor, he has served as an award-winning print and online journalist, mass communication professor and senior digital content strategist for DXC Technology, where he led thought leadership, case studies and the Threat Intelligence Report for the Fortune 500 firm's global security, cloud and IT infrastructure practices.

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