F5 Networks' shares open at 6-month low following Anderson's resignation, rumors


Shares of networking-appliances company F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) opened Friday on the Nasdaq at a six-month low of $95.49.

The Seattle-based company's stock price fell after its worldwide sales chief, Mark Anderson, resigned. Then word emerged that F5's marketing executive, Erik Giesa, may leave the company as well.

At 10:00 a.m. Thursday, F5 shares were trading at $97.72, and went on to fall to $95.80 at 2:26 p.m., and close at $95.49, their lowest price since Nov. 25.

In a note to investors after Anderson's resignation, William Blair & Co. analyst Jason Ader warned that Giesa may be out the F5 door next.

 "The simultaneous, intraquarter departure of two of F5's most senior executives will surely spook investors given the current macro backdrop and will elicit fears that F5's short- and/or long-term opportunities could be diminishing," Ader wrote, urging investors to take "a balanced view" of the stock.

Anderson, who had been at F5 since October 2004, will be succeeded by Americas sales chief Dave Feringa as executive vice president of worldwide sales for the application delivery networking (ADN) provider.

"Mark was a key contributor to our growth and success here at F5," said company President-CEO John McAdam.

Ehud Gelblum, managing director at Morgan Stanley, in a note to investors, wrote F5 has weathered a similar transition in senior management, CRN reported.

"Both executives are long-serving members of F5's executive team, having joined around the same time in 2004," Gelblum wrote. "We have full confidence in F5's ability to execute given its prior sales transition in 2007 and CFO transition in 2004."

For more:
 - read the F5 announcement
 - see the CRN story

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