Palo Alto names former SoftBank exec Nikesh Arora CEO

(Reuters) - Cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks Inc said on Friday it named former SoftBank Group Corp president Nikesh Arora as chief executive officer and chairman.

Arora, 50, succeeds Mark McLaughlin, who has led the company for nearly seven years and has played a major role in its torrid pace of growth.

Under McLaughlin, the company’s shares have jumped five-fold since its initial public offering in 2012.

“Over the course of several quarters, I have been discussing succession planning with the Board and I couldn’t be more pleased that we have found a leader in Nikesh,” said McLaughlin, who will become the vice chairman of Palo Alto board.

Arora, who was Google’s highest paid executive in 2012, joined SoftBank in September 2014 to take charge of its overseas operations.

He stepped down from SoftBank in 2016 following differences between him and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son over when he would replace Son as head of the group.

During his two years at the group, Arora had used an extensive contact book to make new investments, including in Indian online marketplace Snapdeal and ride-hailing service Ola.

Arora has also been credited with making SoftBank more disciplined about investment exits.

Palo Alto also reported third-quarter revenue of $567.1 million, beating analysts’ average estimate of $546.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company were up 2.6 percent at $214.69 in extended trading. They have risen about 44 percent this year.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva