eEye Digital Security has shaken up its top management, firing chief executive officer Ross Brown less than six months after promoting him to the top slot.
Kamal Arafeh, who previously managed eEye's sales operations, will be the new CEO. The rest of the management team -- CTO Marc Maiffret and CFO John Gardiner -- remains intact.
Brown joined eEye in 2005 as COO after a stint at Citrix Systems and moved up to the CEO slot in October 2006. Brown, who is an outspoken blogger, could not be reached for comment.
eEye, a brand-name security research firm that regularly discovers software vulnerabilities, rakes in about $12 million a year from sales of the Retina and Blink line of intrusion prevention products.
Brown's ouster comes less than 24 hours after the release of eEye's Blink Personal Internet Security 3.0, with an added twist of anti-virus technology and a touch of the freebies.
[UPDATE: April 3, 2007 at 7:40 PM] I caught up with Ross Brown today, who confirmed he was let go suddenly but stressed that it was only a surprise to employees (intentionally).
"It's not the way I would have wanted to do it, but leading up to end of quarter I knew where we were headed - the company had it's best Q1 ever, but it was off plan," he said. "The company is in great hands - what most people don't know is that the CFO and the new CEO are personal friends of mine I brought in -- Kamal is a great guy who is the right guy for where eEye is at and John Gardiner (CFO) is the best I've worked with," Brown added.
He recalled joining eEye at a time when the company had "a ton of great technology, but not great products. Over the past year, he said the usability, stability and scalability of the products really improved.
"Kamal is a pure execution machine - the strategic changes (people, processes, products) are done, now he just needs to sell the bejeezus out of them," Brown added.
On the way he was let go (word is he had no idea the axe was about to drop), Brown admitted: "How it was handled was disappointing, but hey, it's their show, I just worked on the stage."
Brown plans to go back to consulting for tech companies about market planning and strategy, program creation and product launches.