Critical Start Announces 3 New Executives, 2 Promotions Among Leadership

The new hires and promotions come after Critical Start announced a strategic growth investment of over $215 million from Vista Equity Partners earlier this year.

Critical Start CEO and Founder Rob Davis says the cyber threat landscape continues to expand— and the need for breach prevention solutions has never been greater. The Plano-based provider of managed detection and response (MDR) cybersecurity solutions, has added a trio of new executives to its leadership team amidst the evolving field, along with two internal promotions:

The leadership moves are:

  • Chris Williams has joined the company as the new chief revenue officer.
  • George Jones recently was recently appointed as the first chief information security officer.
  • John Schilsky has come aboard as the new chief financial officer (CFO)
  • Chris Carlson has been promoted to senior vice president of product.
  • Roseanne Donohue has been promoted to senior vice president of people strategy.

Companies are struggling with “understaffed and under-skilled IT teams” and need implied, proactive cybersecurity solutions, Davis says.

“The new leaders joining our team bring a valuable combination of experience and expertise that will help us maintain our rapid growth trajectory and deliver favorable outcomes for our customers and partners. The internal promotions are a testament to Critical Start’s unrelenting focus on product innovation and talent acquisition and retention,” Davis said in a statement.

The company said that Williams brings more than 25 years of sales, sales leadership, and marketing experience spanning security on-premises and software-as-a-service (SaaS), networking, automation, software, and tech-enabled services. In his new role as chief revenue officer, Williams will drive the strategic direction of Critical Start’s revenue-generating initiatives and oversee sales execution operations as aligned with its growth plans. Previously, he was chief commercial officer at Tripwire, where he was responsible for sales, marketing, technical support, and services as well as professional services activities.

Jones has more than 20 years of experience with technology, infrastructure, compliance, and assessment in multiple roles across different business verticals, Critical Start said in the statement. In this new position, Jones will lead the direction of all security and compliance initiatives within the company and keep Critical Start accountable for achieving all goals and milestones planned. Most recently, he was head of information security and infrastructure at Catalyst Health Group, where he oversaw all compliance efforts (NIST, PCI, HITRUST, SOC2) as well as vendor management for security-based programs.

Schilsky has served as a middle-market CFO for more than 20 years and has held board positions for two venture-backed software companies, Critical Start said. As CFO, he will focus on driving increased scalability and efficiencies and ensuring that financial and operational resources are available to properly execute on Critical Start’s aggressive growth plan, the company said. Most recently, Schilsky was CFO for a $250 million private-equity-backed education technology service provider and was a key member of its management team.

Critical Start said that in his new role as SVP of product, Carlson will define and drive the high-level initiatives for the product management and engineering teams. He joined Critical Start in November 2021 as vice president of product management and brings more than 20 years of product management experience with security SaaS, software, and tech-enabled services/MSSPs.

Donohue will lead, define, and drive high-level strategic initiatives for the company’s combined talent and human resources team, Critical Start said. She joined the company in June 2021 as vice president of talent management. She has more than 20 years of talent and human resources experience across the cyber security, high tech, investment banking, financial, and brokerage industries.

The company said the additions and promotions build on a busy year. In April, it announced a strategic growth investment of over $215 million from Vista Equity Partners, a global investment firm focused exclusively on enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses.

At that time, Critical Start said the new funding would allow the company to continue its growth trajectory by investing in its tech, product, and services offerings, in addition to reaching a broader range of large and mid-sized enterprises. It also said it plans to grow its headcount.

In August, Critical Start was named to both the 2022 Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America and the 2022 CRN Fast Growth 150 List.

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