New Juniper CEO a Sign of SDN Commitment

New Juniper CEO Shaygan Kheradpir

New Juniper CEO Shaygan Kheradpir

Juniper Networks will welcome new chief executive officer Shaygan Kheradpir in January. The networking and security company appointed Kheradpir to the top post last week, replacing the retiring Kevin Johnson. With the move, the company is signaling its commitment to software-based products, analyst say.

Kheradpir comes to Juniper from British megabank Barclays, where he served as chief operations and technology officer and a member of the executive committee. Prior, he was executive vice president and chief information and technology officer at Verizon Communications, where he played an instrumental role in the formation of the telecommunications company more than a decade ago and the development of its technology capabilities.

“Shaygan has a proven track record of successful business operations and technology leadership, with industry knowledge and technical vision from the perspectives of both telecommunications service providers and global enterprises. Most importantly, Shaygan’s values and vision for the company align very tightly with our own, building a strong foundation for Juniper’s future,” said Juniper chairman and former CEO Scott Kriens.

“Juniper Networks delivers innovations that are transforming the way people interact, conduct business, and connect as a global community,” said Kheradpir. “I am honored to lead this visionary organization and look forward to working with this group of dedicated and talented professionals to drive the next phase of the company’s growth.”

Given Kheradpir’s background in telecommunications and his deep industry knowledge, analysts suspect he’ll focus on developing software-based products such as Juniper’s implementation of the OpenStack standards for software defined networks (SDN). Juniper also has broader designs on enabling cloud computing services and mobile device management.

Johnson, a former Microsoft executive, announced in July that he would retire once a suitable replacement is found. Under his administration, Juniper rode out a roller coaster of change. While its core business remains fundamental unchanged, Johnson managed to bring stability and forward momentum to the world’s second largest networking company.

And under Johnson’s watch, Juniper’s channel became more productive and engaged with partners. A few years ago, solution providers would say Juniper’s channel was replete with conflict and products weren’t up to snuff. Today, Juniper is regarded as having one of the finest channel programs that is producing strong results for partners.

Juniper’s channel has undergone tremendous leadership changes over the last year, including the departure of longtime management stalwarts Frank Vitagliano, who departed to head North America channels at Dell; Lori Cornmesser, who became the vice president of global channel sales at Ixia; and Steve Pataky, who became the vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at security juggernaut FireEye.

Despite the Juniper channel leadership changes, solution providers say the program hasn’t suffered disruptions. Juniper appointed former Avaya channel executive Chris Jones to head the U.S. partner operations.