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Sourcefire CEO to step down

Sourcefire, maker of the popular Snort open source IDS tool, said its Chief Executive E. Wayne Jackson III would step down.

E. Wayne Jackson, the CEO and chairman of Sourcefire Inc., is stepping down. Jackson, who has been with the company for nearly six years, will stay on with Sourcefire until a new CEO is hired, he said.

News of Jackson's sudden departure came Wednesday, the same day the company, which makes intrusion detection and prevention systems, announced a net loss of $6.5 million for fiscal 2007. Sourcefire had an eventful 2007, having gone public in March after a planned acquisition by Check Point Software Technologies Inc. was abandoned in 2006 over concerns about the Israeli-owned Check Point buying a U.S. security firm. Sourcefire also acquired the intellectual property of ClamAV, an open-source antivirus project, in August.

Jackson, who took over as CEO in June 2002 when company founder and president Marty Roesch decided to focus more on the technology side of the business and became CTO. Jackson had previously helped found Riverbed Technologies, a maker of wireless products. But even as Jackson ran the company, Roesch continued to serve as the public face of the company he started. It was Roesch who often spoke at security conferences and industry events and many in the security community still regarded him as the leader of the company.

Sourcefire in the news:
Snort creator, Sourcefire seek fresh approach: Sourcefire Inc. is launching Enterprise Threat Management. Sourcefire says the open source tool Snort is the backbone of the new strategy.

Sourcefire expands strategy in effort to leverage its network real estate: Sourcefire has announced plans to expand its overall product strategy to span network access control, intrusion prevention, network behavior anomaly detection and post-admission network access control under the Enterprise Threat Management banner.

Is a merger or acquisition in Sourcefire's future? Sourcefire CTO Martin Roesch suggested that the war chest Sourcefire has developed as a newly public company could be used in a future merger or acquisition.

Sourcefire, of Columbia, Md., plans to separate the roles of CEO and chairman of the board following Jackson's departure. The company has appointed Joseph Chinnici as chairman and has begun a search for a new CEO.

In a conference call with investors on Wednesday, Jackson said he was proud of having taken Sourcefire from its beginnings as a small start-up to its current status as a large, public company. "Having successfully completed this important phase of Sourcefire's history as well as its IPO, I indicated to the board that now is the appropriate time to transition to new leadership that will take the company to the next level as I take on new opportunities and challenges. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues at Sourcefire to ensure a smooth transition," he said.

In addition to the 2007 loss, Sourcefire said it expects to post a larger loss in the first quarter of 2008 than analysts had been expecting.

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