The chief executive of Juniper Networks, Kevin Johnson has announced he is stepping down on the same day the network-gear company hit its second quarter targets.

The CEO will retire after five years in the role once a replacement is found, it was announced yesterday. The exact reason for the boss' departure from the Californian company has not been revealed.

However, Johnson did say, the company was entering "a fresh cycle of customer investments" for cloud computing and the mobile Internet, making this "a good time to transition to new leadership and drive the next phase of Juniper's growth."

The company, which is best known for its switching and routing hardware, has hired Heidrick and Struggles, an executive recruiting firm, to assist a search committee in finding a replacement.

The news comes as the network security provider exceeded analyst predictions when it reported a second quarter (April to June) net income of $98 million (£63.8m), with profits up 70 per cent year-on-year.

The company said demand was strong in key markets and there were signs of improvement in the network-security business.

The company has launched a number of new products in recent months including software-defined networking products for service providers.

Johnson said: "We continue to see signs of strength in our key markets and we are confident in our routing and switching portfolio.

"We are also seeing early signs of improving security demand. As we drive innovation to differentiate across our product portfolio, we continue to deliver revenue growth and stay focused on executing with agility to drive value for all our stakeholders."