FireEye CFO Mike Berry leaves post abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After less than a year and a half on the job
  • Praise and good wishes for Berry
  • Frank Verdecanna taking over

( — Milpitas, California, February 02, 2017 — Mike Berry, finance chief of FireEye, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by FireEye, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, February 02, 2017, Michael (Mike) Berry leaves the post as chief financial officer at the enterprise cybersecurity company in a surprising move after less than a year and a half on the job, effective February 03, 2017.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Berry’s duties are taken over by Frank Verdecanna, currently senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer at FireEye, Inc.

The move is part of a management shake-up.

“To pursue another opportunity”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. FireEye said: “On February 1, 2017, Michael Berry informed the Company of his decision to resign as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Company, effective February 3, 2017, in order to pursue another opportunity.”

The phrase “to pursue another opportunity” is often used in corporate announcements and opens the door to speculation.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CFO leaves the post abruptly and without comprehensible reasons being given.

“Not the result of any disagreement”

“Mr. Berry’s decision to resign was not the result of any disagreement with the Company,” FireEye said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Precise information about the future plans of Berry was not immediately available.

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of FireEye, Inc. since June 2015.

Shapiro holds 8.09 percent stake

Shapiro Capital Management Company, Inc. reported an 8.09 percent stake in FireEye, Inc. as of September 30, 2016.

CEO: Kevin Mandia

Kevin Mandia serves as CEO of FireEye, Inc. Mandia has served as FireEye Chief Executive Officer since June 2016 and was appointed to the company’s Board of Directors in February 2016.

On the job as CFO since 2015

Berry has been the Chief Financial Officer of FireEye, Inc. since September 21, 2015.

Berry has served as FireEye Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer since June 2016, when the company united FireEye Finance and Operations teams.

He joined the company in September 2015 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Before FireEye, Berry was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Informatica, and he earlier led finance and other operations for a number of technology companies, including IO, SolarWinds, and i2 Technologies.

Berry holds a B.A. degree in finance from Augsburg College and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of St. Thomas.

At the time of Berry’s appointment as chief financial officer at FireEye, then-CEO and Chairman David DeWalt had said: “Mike has an extraordinary track record of financial management success with high-growth, publicly held companies in strategic segments of the technology industry. This experience and perspective will be invaluable as FireEye moves forward to extend its leadership in advanced threat protection with continued investments in innovation while driving long-term profitability.”

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Mike Berry’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the report 06.2017 ($).