Former McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt Turned Down 40 Job Offers Before Joining FireEye

Posted Jan 22, 2013

Dave DeWalt became the CEO of security startup company FireEye last year.  FireEye raised $50 million and the company is now valued at $1.25 billion.  DeWalt is the former CEO of McAfee, which sold under his watch to Intel for $7.8 billion.  He also oversaw the acquisition of Documentum’s $1.7 billion acquisition by EMC.  DeWalt’s track record speaks for itself.  Getting McAfee back on track and then selling it was an uphill battle.

“You have to remember my McAfee entrance in late 2006-2007, [the company] was under 11-year restatement of its earnings,” said DeWalt in an interview with BusinessInsider. “It had some executives that were indicted. We had a couple of large fines from the SEC [and the] Department of Justice. I had a delisting with the NYSE.  Microsoft was announcing free antivirus software.”

After selling the company to Intel, it was rumored that DeWalt may become the CEO of the silicon chip giant after Paul Otellini retires.  DeWalt did not confirm whether Intel was selecting him as the CEO or not, but he did say that he turned down around 40 other CEO jobs before taking the one at FireEye.  DeWalt was already serving as the chairman of the board at the time.

DeWalt said that he was done with Intel’s big corporate culture around the time he left in 2011.  He said that big companies don’t do R&D, but focus on A&I instead (acquisitions and integration).  He said that large companies use the balance sheet to buy innovation and then integrate.  “If you look at the appetites of the Ciscos and Microsofts and SAPs and Oracles, they almost have to buy every quarter to fuel their growth,” said DeWalt.  At FireEye DeWalt feels free to focus on innovation in terms of preventing hacks.

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