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Lunch With Dave

McAfee's new CEO David DeWalt talks turnaround for McAfee

5:15 PM -- LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- Day 1: First there was the booth babe wrapped in a skin-tight shiny silver suit scanning people's badges, and then the hot guy with a monitor strapped to his back (I didn't stop to see why) offering free drinks.

But then came the serious stuff -- which is, of course, why we all came to Sin City for Interop (ahem). Off the show floor -- and over the very loud whine of the fan in McAfee's new IntruShield IPS -- newly-crowned McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt held an informal luncheon pow-wow with the media prior to his keynote address. He said McAfee is turning things around since its former executives' stock options scandal, getting back into the SEC's good graces. (See Big IPSes Hit Vegas.)

But DeWalt also revealed that McAfee has big aspirations to improve its marketing strategy. "McAfee has not been well-marketed. We are going to change that," he said. When he first came to the company a couple of months ago, he couldn't get a good read on it: "I couldn't put my finger on what we were doing as a company."

If DeWalt gets his way, that will soon change. He's been reaching out to McAfee's security rivals: He said he had met with John Chambers, Cisco's chairman and CEO, to discuss partnering in the network security space. That's where DeWalt sees McAfee going, with a "powered by McAfee" approach and image.

And he's not worried about Microsoft owning the security market. "That train still won't be there" anytime soon, he said.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE)
  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

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