Silicon Valley software company Splunk Inc. named a new chief executive while beating earnings expectations Thursday afternoon. The big-data company named software veteran Doug Merritt its new CEO, promoting him from senior vice president of field operations to replace the retiring Godfrey Sullivan. Sullivan had led Splunk since 2008, guiding the company through its 2012 initial public offering and first few years as a public company. "Godfrey has been an outstanding and inspirational leader," board member John Connors said in the announcement. Splunk also released results for its fiscal third quarter, with a loss of $73 million, or 57 cents a share, on sales of $174.4 million; after adjustments, the San Francisco company claimed profits of 5 cents a share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted profits of 2 cents a share on revenue of $160.2 million. Splunk shares gained about 1% after some volatility in after-hours trading.
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