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F5 Networks Falls After Executive Leaves: Seattle Mover

F5 Networks Inc. fell to a six-month low after the computer-networking company’s top sales executive resigned, and a William Blair & Co. analyst said a marketing executive might leave as well.

Shares of Seattle-based F5 Networks fell 5.2 percent to $101.97 at 2:03 p.m. in New York. Earlier, they dropped as much as 7.5 percent to $99.47, their lowest since Nov. 25.

Mark Anderson resigned as F5’s executive vice president of worldwide sales, the company said yesterday in a statement. Erik Giesa, F5’s senior vice president of product management and marketing, may leave next, William Blair’s Jason Ader wrote in a note to clients after Anderson’s resignation.

“The simultaneous, intraquarter departure of two of F5’s most senior executives will surely spook investors given the current macro backdrop and will elicit fears that F5’s short-and/or long-term opportunities could be diminishing,” wrote Ader, who rates the shares outperform. “We encourage investors to take a balanced view.”

Anderson’s replacement at F5, Dave Feringa, who had been senior vice president of Americas sales, has been a “key reason for F5’s success in recent years,” Ader said.

In the note yesterday, Ader wrote Anderson was leaving F5 to become chief executive officer of ExtraHop Networks Inc., a startup founded by two former F5 employees. Ader said Giesa will also join ExtraHop.

Justin Baker, a spokesman at ExtraHop, said Anderson isn’t joining, and the company has asked Ader for a correction. Baker declined to comment about Giesa. Holly Hagerman, a spokeswoman for F5 Networks, declined to comment.

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