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Symantec Shows CEO the Door After Reboot Fails

Just over a year ago, Symantec CEO Steve Bennett announced a plan to turn around the largest provider of security and data protection products. But as rivals continued to gain ground on the company, its board ran out of patience and showed him the door yesterday.

Bennett, a former GE executive and onetime CEO of Intuit, lasted less than two years as Symantec's chief after his predecessor Enrique Salem was also ousted. When Bennett presided over last year's two-hour analyst event dubbed Symantec 4.0, he positioned it as a reboot of the company. The reorganization focused on realigning R&D with its disparate product groups, integrating its technologies, removing the siloes and improving the company's lagging software subscription rates.

During the two-hour Webcast of the event, Bennett and his executive team talked about plans to move into new product areas like network security and putting in place functional technology sharing across its businesses. But according to reports, Bennett's efforts never took hold, though the company said he did help reorganize the company and reduce costs. But that wasn't enough to stem declining revenues, a dearth of new technology innovations and an executive exodus that included the company's CFO and several key business unit heads, according to a report in The New York Times.

Symantec said it has appointed board member Michael Brown as interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Brown joined Symantec's board in 2005 following its $13.5 billion acquisition of Veritas. He had once served as chairman and CEO of Quantum. The company said it has hired an executive search firm to recruit a permanent CEO.

Shares in Symantec were off 12 percent Friday afternoon as investors wonder who will take the company forward and if there will be a Symantec 5.0.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/21/2014 at 12:50 PM


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