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F5 CEO Francois Locoh-Donou (GeekWire Photo / John Cook)

After a rough year, F5 Networks got off to a good start Wednesday, reporting earnings that beat Wall Street expectations and announcing the appointment of four new senior executives.

Revenue for F5’s first fiscal quarter was $523.2 million, up slightly from $516 million in revenue in last year’s first fiscal quarter. Excluding special items, earnings per share were $2.26, and both of those figures beat financial analyst estimates for the quarter.

“This was an execution quarter for us,” said F5 CEO Francois Locoh-Donou on a conference call with analysts following the results. 2017 was a transitional year for the Seattle company, with Locoh-Donou taking the wheel in April and the continuing process of shifting from a hardware-driven company to a software-driven company.

That resulted in some disappointing quarterly earnings results and some layoffs across the company last year, but investors seemed pleased with F5’s first-quarter results, sending the company’s stock up nearly three percent in after-hours trading.

The company will also have new leaders shaping its product and strategy decisions in 2018.

Tom Fountain, formerly of McAfee, is joining F5 as executive vice president and chief strategy officer. Former McKinsey consultant and engineer Kara Sprague will become senior vice president and general manager of the Application Delivery Control business unit, and Ram Krishnan is joining the company from CloudPassage as senior vice president and general manager for the security business unit.

Additionally, Ana White, formerly of Microsoft, will become F5’s first executive vice president and chief human resources officer. All four of the new executives will report directly to Locoh-Donou.

Like a lot of other technology companies that rose to prominence in a different era, the shift toward cloud services has reduced demand for the data center gear that F5 still sells but increased demand for security services around public cloud deployments, and that’s the business has the potential to push F5 into a stronger growth position in 2018.

Last year, Locoh-Donou told GeekWire that “the core value proposition of F5 is that it’s software technology that intercepts application traffic, to and from the application service, and it manipulates this traffic in a way to make applications perform better, faster, and more securely.”

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