Raytheon is a well-established brand, a 94-year-old institution synonymous with American military-industrial might. Why the heck would anyone wish to relabel any part of it?
That’s the way John McCormack, CEO of (née) Raytheon Websense, the defense contractor’s cybersecurity division, poses the unveiling of his business’ new name on a phone call with Fortune. He remains undaunted about the decision: “We believe the industry needs significant transformation,” he says with discernible excitement. “That’s why we have a new name—simply put, it’s a new vision.”
As soon as Raytheon
picked up Websense, an Austin, Texas-based firm best known for filtering Internet traffic, for $1.9 billion last spring, the company began brainstorming a nom de guerre for its digital guard. After kicking around countless options, its management settled on a winner: Forcepoint.
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“This name made sense,” says McCormack, who took the unit’s top job as part of last year’s acquisition deal. “It was my choice well into the race.”
McCormack led Websense when Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm also based in Austin, took the dot-com bust veteran private in 2013 for about $890 million. Its competitors have included Internet traffic-scrubbing cybersecurity firms such as Zscaler, a billion dollar “unicorn” startup, and Blue Coat, a once-public company acquired last year by Bain Capital for $2.4 billion.
Now Raytheon operates Forcepoint as a joint venture with Vista. Raytheon holds about an 80% stake, Vista owns the remainder.
For more read Why Raytheon Is Using Virtual Reality for Patriot Missile Training
Forcepoint also becomes Raytheon’s fifth and latest corporate pillar—others include defense, missiles, aerospace, and intelligence and information. At the moment, the cyber segment contributes roughly half a billion dollars to its parent’s nearly $24 billion revenue per year, though the company’s leadership expects that figure to grow.
McCormack, an alum of Symantec
and before that Cisco
, tells Fortune that his multi-year plan is product-oriented. He says he aims to unify the portfolio—integrating recent acquisitions, like Intel’s
Stonesoft network firewall among others—into a single framework.
“We don’t want to create another 25 to 50 products to replace the 25 or 50 products that customers currently run,” McCormack says of his vision for the company’s Triton computer security platform. Meanwhile, numerous other big tech companies are also trying to position themselves as one-stop shops for cybersecurity, including IBM
, Cisco, Dell, and others. “It’s just not sustainable.”
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Despite the word “force” appearing in the company’s new name, McCormack denies that the choice is related to the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney’s
first foray into the blockbuster film franchise. In fact, McCormack says he has yet to see the latest film.
Not that he minds the parallel, of course. “It’s not such a bad thing to be associated with such a quality prod like that,” McCormack says. “I hope my products have as much global appeal and high quality perception as that movie has. It gives us something to live up to.”