Tanium Names Former DreamWorks Exec Fazal Merchant As CFO, COO

Tanium has named Fazal Merchant, an executive with an M&A background, as its new COO and CFO, the company announced Tuesday.

The appointment comes just weeks after CRN first reported that former COO and CFO Eric Brown suddenly left the company.

Merchant comes to Tanium from DreamWorks Animation, where he was CFO until September 2016. Merchant helped lead the company's $3.8 billion sale to Comcast, which completed in August of last year. Merchant has also held financial and investing roles at DirecTV Latin America, RBS Global Banking & Markets, and Barclays Capital.

[Related: Sources: Tanium COO-CFO Leaves Company Suddenly, Despite IPO Plans On Horizon]

In a blog post about the appointment, CEO Orion Hindawi said Merchant is the "right fit for Tanium," highlighting his experience outside of the technology sector, diverse background, collaborative nature and financial experience.

"To capitalize on our amazing potential, we need leaders who can help us build a world-class culture and company with true mission orientation and focus. Fazal fits that bill perfectly," Hindawi said in the blog post. "I look forward to partnering closely with Fazal, our board, and executive team as we expand into key verticals, tap new markets, and continue to grow our team."

One partner executive, who did not want to be named, said Tanium has been making some strong executive additions in recent months, citing the example of the company's addition of former Veritas executive Rick Kramer to lead its channel sales.

"Those guys are seriously playing right now. They're going after a lot of heavy hitters right now," the executive said.

Merchant's appointment comes as Tanium looks to march towards its initial public offering, according to Hindawi, who said in an interview with CRN last year that he believes the next step is to take the security vendor public. He also told the Financial Times in October that the company would look to go public in the next 18 months and will look to start filing paperwork for an IPO early this year. 

Tanium told CRN at the time of Brown's departure that "nothing has changed" from the company's previous statements about an initial public offering, with a company spokesperson saying, "We have not begun any formal process" toward an IPO. 

However, Tanium has also had acquisition offers. Sources have told CRN that the company also saw acquisition bids from VMware and Palo Alto Networks in late 2015, with the latter company offering more than $3 billion.

Tanium has been on a high-growth trajectory; the company has raised $262 million to date, with the latest round of $120 million in September 2015 reportedly bringing its valuation to $3.5 billion.

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