Three of Fortinet's top UK staff, including sales director Paul Judd, are heading for the exit doors, ChannelWeb has learnt.
Judd (pictured), who joined the network security vendor in 2007 from rival Juniper, is understood to be considering other roles in the security channel after giving the network security vendor notice.
ChannelWeb understands that channel manager Simon Haylock and major account manager Hiten Mistry - who looked after the City - are also leaving. Both have been at the firm for about three and a half years.
Patrice Perche, senior vice president of international sales and support at Fortinet, confirmed Judd was leaving and admitted that UK management had come under some pressure to increase the rate of growth.
"In the UK, we have still not reached the market share we have in most European countries and worldwide," said Perche.
"Paul did a good job of putting in place strong foundations, but may not have been comfortable for the next stage [of our growth]. He decided to leave and we really appreciate what he has done in the past three years."
Perche would not confirm that Haylock and Mistry were also leaving but said some staff attrition was natural, particularly as Fortinet has added several high-profile UK employees in recent months.
Recent arrivals include vice president of EMEA sales Luca Simoneli, who has been based in the UK since Q1 and will temporarily run the UK business while Fortinet hunts for Judd's permanent successor.
"We will take our time and ensure we have the right person for the next stage of our growth," said Perche.
Neil Ledger, co-founder of Fortinet distributor VADition, said: "We had a good working relationship with Paul and it is disappointing to see him go, but I am sure he has his reasons for moving on."
Although there is no suggestion the three departures are linked, onlookers claimed the timing may have been influenced by when shares could be sold in the wake of Fortinet's 2009 IPO.
"I can't comment on this, but it is true that we provide a strong financial motivation to our employees," said Perche.
Fortinet logged 34 per cent growth in its most recent quarter, but some UK partners are worried the vendor's thunder has been stolen by upstart Palo Alto and are urging it to pump more money into brand awareness.
Perche stressed the vendor is plotting a strategic marketing push to get its name out there and would hire six more UK staff this year.
"Our strength has always been technology and our weakness has been marketing, but we have started to address that in the UK," he said.
"Palo Alto has made a lot of noise and has been supported by some analysts, but customers are starting to see that it has a lot of weaknesses. We are not afraid of competing with it. We don't want to be like Palo Alto – you should always respect your competition and we respect our competitors."
When asked about rumours that Fortinet will add Computerlinks to its UK distribution line-up to help cement its ties with BT, Perche admitted the duo were in talks about extending their cooperation. "They are a strong partner in Germany, and we are in discussions to see if there can been mutual benefits in other continues. But we are still talking so there is nothing to comment on," he said.
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