New F5 CEO Plots a Course Forward

Manny Rivelo discusses what it has been like to succeed former CEO John McAdam and how his leadership will take a bit of a different path.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jul 29, 2015
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John McAdam, former CEO of F5, was one of the most well respected and beloved CEOs in the networking industry. On April 22, McAdam revealed that he would be succeeded by Manuel "Manny" Rivelo, who at the time was F5's Executive Vice President of Strategic Solutions. Rivelo officially took over as CEO of F5 on July 1 and hosted his first earnings call with financial analysts on July 22.

In an interview with Enterprise Networking Planet, Rivelo commented that McAdam made the CEO transition painless, and the first month on the job has worked out well.

"I have been at F5 for four years and worked directly for John McAdam from day one," Rivelo said. "Part of the reason why I came to F5 in the first place is the respect I have for John and what he accomplished for the company."

Rivelo added that McAdam has been a great mentor and coach to him. The whole transition process was very transparent and open. Rivelo went so far as to call the transition process "flawless."

"[McAdam] has been a pleasure to work with, he's on the Board of Directors," Rivelo said. "I view him as a strong ally and a supporter."

Though Rivelo learned from McAdam, he's going to be taking a different management approach in his leadership of F5. Rivelo said that he's more of a hands-on manager than McAdam.

"I bring operational capabilities to the role and the concept of long-term strategic planning is something I'm focused on, as well as the execution of the strategy through a set of operating plans, with accountability built-in," Rivelo said.

The focus is to continue to grow the company in a market where the need for application performance is well understood. Rivelo sees his leadership as part of the evolution of the company overall from a single product load balancer technology to a multi-product company.

"We continue to pivot the company from just being a basic load balancer application delivery device to introducing additional services to secure and accelerate user sessions," Rivelo said.

Over the course of the last 18 months, F5 has also been evolving the business model from being hardware centric, to a hybrid model that offers both on-premises and cloud service based delivery models. The F5 Silverline set of services is one way in which the company is now offering subscription based services.

"We're taking the infrastructure layer and putting services on top of it, so applications can run freely where they run best," Rivelo said.

From a delivery model, F5 is also starting to look at the emerging world of containers, which Docker has helped to make popular. Rivelo said that until recently, containers lacked the network plumbing needed for real deployments, but that is now changing.

"Moving our software strategy down to containers is something we're obviously looking at," Rivelo said. "You should see us progressively put our technology as appropriate into a container platform."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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