President and Chief Executive Officer
With a career that spans more than 30 years across numerous high-tech industries, Bill Conner is among the most experienced security, data and infrastructure executives worldwide. As a corporate turn-around and cybersecurity expert, Conner has been at the forefront of the evolution of the Digital Information Age.PEGCC Success Story Video
From leading key divisions of AT&T, to taking Nortel into data with the $9 billion acquisition of Bay Networks, or his work to secure digital identities with Entrust, Conner has been the vanguard of three of the Digital Information Age’s most transformational technology shifts. Conner was recognized with the Federal 100 award, which the government bestows to the top 100 individuals and organizations impacting the U.S. government, and has been recognized with the Corporate CEO of the Year Award as part of the annual Tech Titans Award program. He’s defined and created new markets before they existed and seized the opportunity by expertly positioning himself to enter the market as a leader.
Drawing from his experience with Nortel’s Enterprise Data Networks and his time in operations at AT&T, Conner was intimately involved with the Nortel Data Security startup. In 1998, Conner and the Nortel Data Security management team took the business unit through an initial public offering, creating Entrust Inc.
Prior to his appointment as President and CEO of Entrust in 2001, Conner held leadership positions on Entrust’s board and executive positions in Nortel, including Chairman of Entrust’s Board of Directors, Nortel’s first chief marketing officer and President of Enterprise Data Networks and Enterprise Networks and e-Business Solutions. In July 2009, Conner and his executive team took Entrust private through an acquisition by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.
Upon taking Entrust private, Conner reset corporate priorities to take advantage of new market dynamics and focus on organic growth. This shift began in a time when technology sectors, cybersecurity in particular, were undergoing tremendous and tumultuous change. As mobile devices and cloud computing became drivers of organizations’ buying behavior, Conner invested heavily in technological innovations to help organizations realize the potential gains presented by these technologies.
As a way to provide strong identity assurance and trust to mobile- and cloud-based ecosystems, Conner expanded Entrust’s digital certificate offerings, drawing on his belief in the strength of digital certificate technology. This culminated in 2012, with Entrust organically growing cloud and software-as-a-service revenue, now accounting for roughly 60 percent of product revenue, and subscription revenue providing nearly 70 percent of total revenue. Focusing on security solutions for the cloud and software-as-a-service, Entrust is one of the few software companies to successfully transition from a mainly perpetual-based model to subscription-based revenue stream.
By the end of 2012, under Conner’s leadership, Entrust met and exceeded each year’s revenue and EBITDA goals first set by Thoma Bravo in 2009. This strong financial performance helped lead Thoma Bravo to the position of one of the largest private investor in security software and technology.
A strong believer in helping governments secure citizens, agencies and borders, Conner dedicates time and resources to global law enforcement, national governments, and local departments and agencies.
Applying his wealth of knowledge on securing digital identities, he speaks at congressional hearings and town halls around the country to raise awareness of the threats and cybersecurity to small and medium businesses. He champions public-private partnerships between government agencies, law enforcement and leaders in the private sector to help secure and protect critical infrastructure.
As part of his efforts to secure national critical infrastructure, Conner launched and co-chaired the Business Software Alliance Information Security Governance Task Force, which released an informative security management framework for the industry.
Conner was a driving force behind the East West Institute Worldwide Security Forum, which hosts an international dialogue on security innovation and thought leadership within the industry. And he co-chaired the Corporate Governance Task Force of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Partnership, which released its report, “Information Security Governance: A Call to Action.”
Conner travels globally to meet with leaders at major financial institutions, enterprises and governments to help understand both the risks and opportunities of the evolving cyber landscape. A trusted advisor to numerous organization and agency heads, Conner helps Entrust maintain a global leadership position to the most security-conscience organizations. He has spoken in front of the United Nations and is one of only a few non-INTERPOL members to speak before an INTERPOL General Assembly.
Before Conner joined Entrust, he held various senior executive positions at Nortel Networks, including president of Nortel Enterprise Networks and e-Business Solutions, where he successfully turned around the global $5 billion business. Conner also served as president of Nortel’s first Enterprise Data Networks line of business, orchestrating Nortel’s $9 billion acquisition of Bay Networks.
In addition, he served as Nortel Networks’ first chief marketing officer and spearheaded the integration and alignment of the corporation’s strategic communications, branding and marketing, including its global “Come Together” and “What Do You Want The Internet To Be?” marketing campaigns. This work had a dramatic increase in brand recognition and business results. He was named “Marketer of the Year” in 2000. Conner joined Nortel Networks in 1992 from AT&T, where he served in various leadership positions.
Conner is a member of the DFW Wharton Club Advisory Board and previously served on the boards of Travelocity, Williams Communications, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Conner graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.