Symantec terminates CEO Steve Bennett

March 21
7:17 AM 2014

Antivirus software manufacturer Symantec has terminated its Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett, the Financial Times reported.

The firing, which was effective immediately, came in the wake of a number of senior managers leaving the firm now facing lessening revenues even as the cyber security market continues to thrive. Board member Michael Brown will be replacing him for the meantime, the report said.

A source told FT that Symantec was worried about product strategy after the entire senior leadership in product development quit the firm, with some joining rival firms. Bennett took the helm in 2012 and in the course of his leadership, senior leaders and some important board members have departed the firm or have been removed. Symantec's Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, President in Charge of Product and the President in Charge of Engineering and the Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Sales are not anymore with the company, FT reported.

The source told FT, "It is hard when an organisation goes through that much turnover, it loses institutional knowledge and hurts momentum. When you see that amount of turnover it might be an underlying problem with the leadership."

Symantec said it the removal of Bennett was not caused by any event or misbehavior and that it was just a part of the process the company was going through. Symantec shares had dropped 11% this year while that of its younger competitors have gone up significantly. For example, FireEye went up 54% while Palo Alto Networks went up 37%. After news of Bennett's termination was announced, after-market trading of shares of Symantec were halted, the report said.

Brown assured that Symantec has now put together a leadership team that would hasten their growth. FT quoted him as saying, "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." 

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