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F5 CEO John McAdam
F5 CEO John McAdam

F5 Networks is releasing an unprecedented burst of new software and hardware products, responding to encouragement from once and current CEO John McAdam, he said in an interview today.

“One thing that was obvious to me when I came back to F5 was that we needed business drivers,” McAdam said in his thick Scots brogue. “I’ve been pushing product development to get as many of those out as possible, and they’ve delivered.” The Seattle-based company last quarter and this will release “as many products as it has during my entire time here,” he said.

McAdam served as CEO for 15 years, then retired in July 2015 — only to return in mid-December upon the sudden and unexpected departure of his successor, Manny Rivelo. Since his return, “things have improved dramatically, including the morale,” he said. The company posted solid quarterly results today, beating its own goals to deliver revenue of $496.5 million and net income of  $91.8 million, or $1.37 per diluted share.

During the quarter ended June 30, the company introduced version 5.0 of its BIG-IQ network-management platform, which it said works across physical and virtual devices to offer a single-screen view of traffic, security and firewall status. It also debuted a new standalone appliance for DDoS (denial-of-service attacks) mitigation.

Products scheduled to begin shipping in the current quarter include a refresh of the BIG-IP appliance family and a standalone SSL appliance designed to encrypt and unencrypt traffic, in concert with third-party security solutions.

“This quarter we’re refreshing our entire line of ADC (application-delivery controller) products that are faster, more cloud-ready and more sophisticated in terms of programmability, which is a big thing for us, as they’re aimed at the DevOps community,” McAdam said.

Rapidly changing technology, including the hypergrowth of cloud computing, means that “nothing is simple for tech companies these days,” he observed. “There are so many changes — public cloud, hybrid cloud. Cloud is still a small proportion of our business and of technology spend, but we’re very aware it’s a rapidly growing part of the market. Security in the cloud is very, very important, especially at the application level, which is what we do.”

Earlier today, McAdam announced F5’s board is starting the hunt for his replacement, though he hasn’t set a retirement date. Asked how he thinks the company will fare in his absence, he replied, “I’ve always said I want to retire. I think we’re in a good position.”

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