The 2015 Executive Excellence Awards: Karl Triebes


Karl Triebes

Executive Vice President of Product Development & Chief Technology Officer, F5 Networks

Networks can quickly become a tangle of cables, and Karl Triebes knows the same thing can happen to a network company’s product line. That’s why his first task as CTO of F5 Networks was to unify its offerings into a portfolio that could scale together. “It gives tremendous leverage,” he says, “to build one platform, then not having to redevelop those services every time you come out with another product.”

By reorganizing engineering teams to that end, Triebes evolved the company, helping to grow F5’s revenue from $171 million in 2004 to $1.5 billion in 2013. Last year, he was pivotal in the company’s push to expand its application delivery capabilities in security, cloud and software-defined networking. 

Triebes applies the same focus to making acquisitions as well, evaluating a prospective company for a technology that fits well with F5, not just the hot new thing out of Silicon Valley. Quickly integrating a technology into the existing platform has helped F5 move into adjacent markets such as remote access and secure sharing. 

Innovation, Triebes says, comes from keeping his teams focused on the customer’s real problems, and challenging them. “If it wasn’t hard,” he tells engineers, “I wouldn’t need you guys.” 

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