Sean Berg to lead government group for Raytheon's Forcepoint business

Sean Berg has been named the government leader for Forcepoint, a Raytheon cybersecurity joint venture.

The Raytheon-backed Forcepoint cybersecurity joint venture has elevated Sean Berg to head of its global governments business nearly five months after his initial appointment to the JV.

Berg will be based out of Herndon, Va. office and will focus on the venture’s efforts to grow its cross-domain and human-centric security portfolio among U.S. and international government agencies, Forcepoint said Wednesday.

Berg joined Forcepoint in May as vice president of sales for global governments and will now hold the title of senior VP and general manager for the business formerly held by Tim Solms, who has left the venture. Forcepoint officials declined to comment beyond their announcement.

The change comes amid an ongoing restructuring effort to position Forcepoint for next year. Speaking on Raytheon’s third quarter earnings call with investors Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Toby O’Brien said Forcepoint is making “investments to expand the sales force capacity, increase the new business pipeline and improve brand awareness.”

That has resulted in some margin pressures this year even with overall sales growth at Forcepoint, which Raytheon has owned 80 percent of over two years.

Forcepoint reported a 9.1 percent operating margin over this year’s first nine months versus the 15.6-percent reading in the same period last year, Raytheon said in its third quarter regulatory filing Thursday.

Much of that is by design. O’Brien noted in the call Forcepoint expected the margin decrease due to those investments and “what you see in the fourth quarter is the continuation of that investment, which is driving the margins down on a sequential basis.”

That filing additionally revealed Forcepoint paid $54 million in cash to acquire security analytics outfit RedOwl Analytics in August. Forcepoint also acquired the cloud security product line Skyfence in February for $40 million, according to filings.

Sales at Forcepoint over nine months are up 2 percent to $452 million and Raytheon expects the business to record $600 million in full-year revenue for 2017, according to investor slides accompanying the third quarter call. That implies 7-percent growth from last year’s sales of $561 million.

O’Brien told investors Raytheon is looking for Forcepoint to record around 10 percent sales growth and double-digit margins next year.

That trajectory has led to investor speculation that Raytheon would eventually look to take Forcepoint through an initial public offering, which Raytheon CEO Tom Kennedy told investors in July during its second quarter earnings call there are “no plans at this time to do… in the near future.”

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