What’s It Like to be Acquired by Progress?

What’s It Like to be Acquired by Progress?

Posted on February 21, 2024 0 Comments

Derek Kiely joined Progress in 2021 as part of an acquisition. Now, he’s discussing his experience and shedding light on why Progress is an acquirer of choice.

When Progress acquired Kemp in 2021, we had the opportunity to add a great new set of products, an exciting list of new customers and partners, and the opportunity to add great talent, including Derek Kiely.

At Kemp, Derek was Vice President of Engineering. Since joining Progress, he’s shifted to Vice President of Product Management, overseeing our LoadMaster and WhatsUp Gold products. In addition to adjusting to a new role, Derek has also had to adjust to a new company. Luckily, both transitions have been smooth—a testament to Progress’ M&A expertise.

Derek describes his experience at Progress in the interview below.

What did you do in your role at Kemp, and how is that different from your current role at Progress? 

At Kemp, I was focused only on leading engineering teams, whereas at Progress I work closely with engineering but also am involved in a broader scope of areas. For example, I am much more involved on the M&A side. Having experience on the sell side at Kemp has really helped me in my current role.

Can you discuss the transition/integration process from Kemp to Progress? How was the experience for you? 

The integration process was very straightforward and did not cause any major upheaval. It was an iterative approach and everything I was asked to do made sense and moved us closer to our goal. Also, Progress was very open to exploring the way they had been doing things if the Kemp team had a better method. Progress demonstrated an open-mindedness throughout the entire integration process and I really appreciated that. Progress embraced the opportunity to take the best of both worlds to combine best practices, and that will serve us well in the future.  

How has Progress helped you advance in your career?

Prior to coming to Progress, I had experience at a startup, but hadn’t worked at a global enterprise company. Learning what it’s like to work at a large public company has been a valuable experience. For example, there are many functions at Progress that Kemp didn’t have (analyst relations, corporate development, extensive legal support), so interacting with these critical functions has been enjoyable and helpful. People at Progress are eager to help newcomers learn how to operate within a larger organization.  

Progress also supported me in a career transition from Engineering to Product Management. I have always viewed myself as a business-centric person, so having the opportunity to have a larger impact in Product Management is great. Since joining Progress, I’ve launched a new product called LoadMaster 360 for the Infrastructure Management team. That required input from multiple cross-functional teams and was a true team effort, as well as a great achievement.

How do you see your career evolving as part of Progress in the future? 

In the future, I want to take on more product responsibility and lead more people. I would love to follow in the footsteps of our General Managers. Having M&A experience is key, and Progress has trained me well in that aspect.  

What has been your favorite Progress memory so far? 

My favorite Progress memory is when the Progress leadership team came to the Kemp office immediately after the acquisition became official. I found the interaction extremely valuable, because they immediately made me feel more comfortable about the pending change. I was able to better understand their vision for Kemp, how our company complemented theirs and that our team was truly valued by Progress. I was able to see the very good people at Progress and felt very happy with how they embraced me and my team.   

What aspect of Progress made you most excited when you joined the company?

I was most excited about joining a larger company and the career opportunities and resources that came with it. This has proven to be true, as I found a great new position that has enabled me to grow and thrive. 

As a member of your business unit’s leadership team, what is the most challenging part of your job? 

Being a member of our leadership team is a balancing act. The portfolio of products is much larger than Kemp and I need to make sure we deliver on multiple fronts. I need to make sure we continue to drive innovation across the product set, while also delivering on financial goals.   

What do you appreciate the most about Progress’ culture, values and work environment? 

Progress looks after people very well from a benefits perspective. I wasn’t sure what to expect on that front and have been blown away by how comprehensive the offerings are.   

Progress also provides a lot of opportunities to grow professionally. That’s one of the things that sets it apart as an acquirer and makes it a great place to work. The company’s intent is to treat customers and employees right.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have four children and love Irish sports (Hurling and Gaelic football). I coach an under-7 hurling team.

Gaelic football is a bit of a mix between soccer and rugby. Hurling is like lacrosse but with a stick, and the ball is a bit like baseball. It’s a contact sport, so broken fingers are quite common. I’ve broken my hand and thumb—but you learn to protect yourself. 

Learn more about Progress’ M&A strategy and approach here.

Alexander Fries

Alexander currently serves as the Director of Corporate Development for Progress, where he is responsible for sourcing, executing, negotiating and integrating mergers and acquisitions, which are essential elements of Progress’ business strategy. Prior to Progress, Alexander was a Manager on the Corporate Development & Strategy team at Ingram Micro, a leading global IT distributor based in Irvine, CA, where he led M&A and strategic initiatives across all business units and numerous geographies.

Alexander holds an MBA in Finance and Global Management from UCLA's Anderson School of Management and holds a BS in Finance and Economics from Babson College.


Comments are disabled in preview mode.

Sitefinity Training and Certification Now Available.

Let our experts teach you how to use Sitefinity's best-in-class features to deliver compelling digital experiences.

Learn More
Latest Stories
in Your Inbox

Subscribe to get all the news, info and tutorials you need to build better business apps and sites

Loading animation