Symantec fires CEO, appoints interim replacement

Bennett took over the security and backup company less than two years ago

Symantec fired its second CEO in less than two years on Thursday, dismissing Steve Bennett and putting a board member in charge while the security vendor searches for a permanent replacement.

Bennett took the reins from former president and CEO Enrique Salem in July 2012 after Salem was dismissed amid weak financial results. Bennett has also resigned from Symantec's board, according to a press release.

Symantec went through a major reorganization under Bennett, which the company said had "helped establish a solid foundation for Symantec's future." His termination was part of an ongoing process and not in response to any event or impropriety, according to Symantec. But the company said it needs a leader who can "drive the next stage of Symantec's product innovation and growth."

Board member Michael Brown will serve as interim president and CEO during an executive search that will begin immediately.

Also on Thursday, Symantec reiterated its guidance for the fourth quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, including slightly higher profit and fatter margins than a year earlier, on lower revenue.

Bennett had taken over with a promise to reorganize Symantec to better compete in the mobile arena and compete there as effectively as it had in PCs.

"The need for protecting and managing your information has never been stronger, and we must act aggressively to capture a growing share of this market," Interim CEO Brown said in the release.

Symantec's security business depends too much on endpoint software, such as PC antivirus tools, while competitors come out with more modern offerings, said Forrester Research security analyst Rick Holland. Fast-moving rivals include Palo Alto Networks, which makes next-generation firewalls, and FireEye, with advanced anti-malware software that doesn't rely on traditional signatures, he said.

Endpoint products like Symantec's aren't going away, but many would-be buyers today pick alternatives such as Microsoft's Forefront, which is included with other Microsoft licenses, he said.

"They need to have an innovative solution out to customers sooner than later," Holland said. Bennett's firing indicates that change wasn't happening fast enough for the company's board, he said.

Righting the ship may require taking the company private so it can make major acquisitions and investments in new technologies without having to meet Wall Street's expectations at the same time, Holland said. "I think it's really difficult to do a turnaround if you're a public company," he said.

The company might also split itself up, spinning off either its security or its backup and recovery business and focusing on just one of them, Holland said. Integrating an acquired company into the current sprawling organization would be a challenge, he said.

In after-hours trading late Thursday, Symantec's shares (Nasdaq: SYMC) were down US$1.26 at $19.65.

Tags business issuespersonnelsymantecsecuritystorage

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?