Bill Conner is among the most experienced security, data and infrastructure executives worldwide, with a career spanning over 30 years across numerous high-tech industries. A corporate turn-around expert, today he is the President and CEO of SonicWall, one of the world’s most trusted network security companies, acquired as a carve out from Dell by Francisco Partners and Elliott Management in November of 2016. SonicWall next-generation firewalls and network security solutions protect more than 1 million networks worldwide, for more than 500,000 organizations in more than 150 countries. In the less than one year under Conner’s leadership, SonicWall surpassed the ambitious financial and operational metrics set across the business, delivering record partner registrations (over 18,000 partners / 5,000 net new), strong pipeline growth (over $330M in new partner deal registrations), key service improvements (80% reduction in wait times), the release of a new global marketing campaign, and the unprecedented release of advanced network security products and services for SonicWall’s Automated Real-Time Breach Detection and Prevention Platform, across wired, wireless and mobile networks.
Most recently, Conner has been named Chairman of the Board of Comodo Certification Authority (Comodo CA), acquired by Francisco Partners in October of 2017. The investment by Francisco Partners marks a transition in ownership from the Comodo organization. Comodo, founded in 1998, grew as Comodo CA became an industry leader in SSL security with more than 200,000 customers across 150 countries. The acquisition represents a strong blend of technology, innovation and execution, as SSL certificates become further entrenched in organizations’ security protocols with the growing security risks associated with the massive growth in online and Internet of Things (IoT) traffic. Conner’s appointment and investment by Francisco Partners will help support the company’s accelerated growth as it focuses attention on the CA business given the significant opportunity in the market.
Conner has been the vanguard of four of the Digital Information Age’s most transformational technology shifts. From leading key divisions of AT&T, to taking Nortel into data with the $9 billion acquisition of Bay Networks, to his work securing digital identities with Entrust, to bringing secure communications and privacy from the consumer to the enterprise through mobile and cloud with Silent Circle, Conner has built a strong track record. He’s re-engineered product lines, built world-class service organizations, re-aligned global sales organizations, and created industry-leading marketing campaigns. After he was appointed President and CEO of Silent Circle, Conner quickly re-positioned the consumer privacy company into a mobile Enterprise Privacy Platform (EPP) focused business. This included creating the marketing category, re-engineering the products and the global cloud delivery, and re-building the sales, service and marketing functions. As Entrust’s President and CEO, Conner quickly re-engineered the technology-led company to be customer and market-driven, creating a best-in-class company. Upon taking Entrust private in 2009 with the private equity firm Thoma Bravo, he reset corporate priorities to take advantage of new market dynamics such as SaaS and mobility. This enabled Conner to successfully navigate the company toward nearly a 100% subscription-based revenue model, while delivering organic growth rates in excess of two times the market rate. Contributing to the strong growth were record customer renewal rates exceeding 98%. In 2013, Entrust was purchased for a record 6.5 times the 2009 investment.
Conner is a staunch supporter of public-private partnerships on cybersecurity, and is regularly called on to share his expertise with global leaders at major financial institutions, enterprises and governments.
He also created and hosted “Hacked” for SiriusXM’s business radio. He has been recognized with several awards, including being awarded SC Media’s 2017 Reboot Leadership Award, named top 25 Most Influential Executive for 2017, named to the Top Midmarket IT Vendor Executives for 2017, Marketing Computers “Marketer of the Year”, Tech Titans “Corporate CEO of the Year”, Federal Computer’s “Top 100 Award”, and the “National Youth Science Camp Alumnus of the Year.”
• National Cybersecurity and Cyberdefense legislation and initiatives
• Cybersecurity thought leadership and global initiatives
• Corporate organizational restructuring and turnarounds
• Identifying and evaluating technology and security trends
• Global eGovernment leadership and insights
• Global sales and marketing organizational structure and alignment
• FCC regulatory reforms (AT&T Services)