With a career spanning more than 30 years across high-tech industries, Bill Conner is a corporate turnaround expert and global leader in security, data and infrastructure. Today, Conner is President and CEO of SonicWall, one of the world’s most trusted network security companies. SonicWall next-generation firewalls and network security solutions protect more than 1 million networks worldwide, for more than 500,000 organizations in more than 215 territories and countries. Conner was selected as CEO to launch SonicWall as an independent company from Dell, by Francisco Partners and Elliott Management in November 2016. In less than one year under Conner’s leadership, SonicWall has surpassed financial and operational goals, delivering:
- Record partner registrations of more than 18,000 global channel partners with 5,000 net new partners
- Strong pipeline growth with over $330M in new partner deal registrations
- Key service improvements with 80% reduction in wait times
- Launching a new global marketing campaign
- Record new product releases
In October 2017, Francisco Partners acquired Comodo Certification Authority (Comodo CA) and named Conner Chairman of the Board. The investment by Francisco Partners marks a transition in ownership from the Comodo organization. Comodo, founded in 1998, grew as Comodo CA became an industry leader in SSL security with more than 200,000 customers across 150 countries. Conner’s appointment by Francisco Partners will help support the company’s accelerated growth as it focuses attention on the CA business, and its significant market opportunity associated with SSL certificates and the massive growth in online and IoT traffic.
Conner has been the vanguard of transformational technology shifts, from leading key divisions of AT&T, to taking Nortel into data with a $9 billion acquisition of Bay Networks, to his work securing digital identities with Entrust, to bringing secure communications and privacy from the consumer to the enterprise through mobile and cloud with Silent Circle. He has re-engineered product lines, built world-class service organizations, re-aligned global sales organizations, and created industry-leading marketing campaigns.
As President and CEO of Silent Circle, Conner quickly re-positioned the consumer privacy company into a mobile Enterprise Privacy Platform (EPP) focused business. This included creating the category, re-engineering products and the global cloud delivery, and re-building sales, service and marketing functions. As President and CEO of Entrust, Conner re-engineered the technology-led company to be customer and market driven. Upon taking Entrust private in 2009 with the private equity firm Thoma Bravo, he reset corporate priorities to take advantage of SaaS and mobility. He successfully steered Entrust toward nearly a 100% subscription-based revenue model, while delivering organic growth rates in excess of two times the market rate. Contributing to the strong growth were record customer renewal rates exceeding 98%. In 2013, Entrust was purchased for 6.5 times the 2009 investment.
A staunch supporter of public-private cybersecurity partnerships, Conner regularly shares expertise with global leaders at major financial institutions, enterprises and governments. He also created and hosted “Hacked” for SiriusXM business radio. Conner has been recognized as:
- SC Media’s 2017 Reboot Leadership Award Winner
- One of the top 25 Most Influential Executives for 2017
- Top Midmarket IT Vendor Executives for 2017
- Marketing Computers Marketer of the Year
- Tech Titans Corporate CEO of the Year
- Federal Computer’s Top 100 Award
- National Youth Science Camp Alumnus of the Year
Conner graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.