Peter Bauer speaks with the accent of the country where he grew up, South Africa. The company he leads, cybersecurity firm Mimecast, got its start in London.
But Bauer is decidedly a Massachusetts executive. And his story of building up Mimecast here underscores the Bay State’s attraction to European companies looking to grow in the United States.
Now, the Lexington-based e-mail security company enters a new chapter, following its acquisition last month by British private equity firm Permira. The $5.8 billion deal’s closure came after Mimecast’s board rejected an unsolicited bid from Thoma Bravo and its cybersecurity firm Proofpoint; their bid was higher but raised antitrust concerns.
Bauer expects to add 200 to 300 new jobs to his 2,000-person workforce over the next year as he looks to expand, particularly in North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Private-equity ownership will provide more flexibility. The goal: to exceed $1 billion in annual recurring revenue within three to five years, up from $650 million today.
“Looking at the markets, I’m glad we pulled the ship into a safe port under private ownership,” Bauer said. “The ability to place some bold bets and look at how we develop those over a multi-year period, I’m excited about the opportunity.”
He relocated to Massachusetts from the UK in 2011 — and he shifted his leadership team here over time. He considers Greater Boston to be a “talent-rich environment” with an appealing lifestyle and close proximity to Europe, to ease travel and time-zone differences. Plus, he notices many people have favorable memories of Boston from college or graduate school, helping with recruitment. And in terms of cybersecurity, the region has become a hub in its own right, with prominent firms such as Rapid7 and Cybereason.
Like many chief executives, he’s still in the process of bringing employees back to the office. (Mimecast employs 575 people in Massachusetts.)
“There are obviously tremendous benefits in remote work [but] the problem-solving capacity of a team is diminished,” Bauer said. “There’s no supplement for the square footage of whiteboard space [and] putting them in a room together on a routine basis.”
Rooney says it’s time to step up for the T
The big news at Senate President Karen Spilka’s appearance at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce last Tuesday morning: Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano just announced a legislative hearing to explore the reasons why the MBTA seems to be falling apart, following the adoption of less frequent light-rail service on weekdays because of a dispatcher shortage.
Spilka said she bet if Chamber chief executive Jim Rooney was there, at the InterContinental, he would have a lot to say on the issue; Rooney was in Washington attending Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s “Good Jobs Summit.” (Rooney, a former T boss, has made no secret of his skepticism about the transit agency’s management.)
Spilka was right: Rooney’s plane had barely touched down at Logan on Tuesday afternoon before he sounded off on Twitter. “The T is failing riders,” Rooney wrote the next day. “The T is failing employers. The T is failing downtown.”
Rooney, in an interview, said he worries office workers might work from home more often without access to good transit service. With so much on the line, he said he’s happy the Legislature is “getting back in the game” of grilling the T: “We’ve got to take a big step back and say, ‘What do we want and how do we want to pay for it?’”
“Boston-based” but everywhere
Speaking of remote work, we’re going to see a lot of that at LastPass, the Boston-based password security firm recently spun off of LogMeIn — now known as GoTo — by private equity owners Francisco Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital. The new leadership team under LastPass chief executive Karim Toubba is taking shape, and it’s heavy on executives from other states. Christopher Hoff, the chief security officer, is in North Carolina. Chief marketing officer Rob Charlebois is in Texas. HR boss Lora Rodstein remains in California, while senior vice president of operations Pegi Wheeler is in Chicago.
A spokeswoman said Toubba chose experts in their field, including people he previously worked with, to fill out his leadership team — regardless of where they live. Toubba, by the way, is based in California, too.
Former LogMeIn chief executive Bill Wagner took a similar approach, although Wagner was based here. The owners replaced Wagner with Mike Kohlsdorf in January. Kohlsdorf’s home turf? Atlanta.
Liberty Mutual chiefs stick to Back Bay
At least Liberty Mutual will have a leadership team that’s close to home.
The Boston-based insurer just announced two promotions to take effect in January 2023, when Tim Sweeney takes over for chief executive David Long. Monica Caldas, a former General Electric executive who is currently deputy chief information officer at Liberty Mutual, becomes the chief information officer in January, following James McGlennon’s retirement at the end of the year. And Damon Hart will be Liberty Mutual’s secretary, overseeing governance for its board of directors, in addition to being chief legal officer. Both Caldas and Hart will report directly to Sweeney once he becomes CEO.
Ropes & Gray stands up on Roe
Some corporate leaders spoke up following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. Among them here in Boston: Julie Jones. The chair of law firm Ropes & Gray, Jones sent a memo to the firm almost immediately after the decision became public Friday. She wrote that as a woman, she had a “profound feeling of vulnerability.” As a business leader, she is concerned about the impact on her firm and community. As an American, she fears the divisive topic of abortion will further fracture the citizenry.
She said the “Ropes & Gray community stands tall for each other” and pledged to hold two gatherings over the next few days to address the decision. Many colleagues already reached out to the head of the firm’s pro bono program, Roz Nasdor, and the firm’s US pro bono committee chairs, Jenny Rikoski and Chris Conniff, to ask about channeling their concern into action. Jones wrote that Ropes & Gray will continue to champion health care rights for women, and there will be plenty of new opportunities to join the cause.
Businger closes a big sale on North-South Rail
One of John Businger’s first jobs was in sales — selling encyclopedias, in fact. That should come as no surprise to anyone on the receiving end of a pitch by the persistent former state rep to join the “North-South Rail Link Working Group” for his favorite infrastructure project.
Businger’s newest recruit is an important one: Attorney General Maura Healey, front-runner in the governor’s race. Governor Charlie Baker has not been a big fan of the multibillion-dollar Rail Link project, to connect North Station and South Station via a tunnel. Karissa Hand, a spokeswoman for Healey’s campaign, said Healey isn’t necessarily a true believer yet but joined to learn more about the project and making the public transportation system more interconnected.
Businger, working with rail advocate and former governor Mike Dukakis, started assembling the group in 2015. More than 200 people are on board, from across New England.
Businger said he and Dukakis approached Healey policy director Sarah Sabshon before the state Democratic convention in Worcester this month. They made their pitch at the Duke’s kitchen table, in Brookline. The next day, Businger saw Healey at her pre-convention party, and closed the deal — or as he puts it, “she gave me an instant yes.” That certainly beats another encyclopedia order.
Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.