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Symantec sacks CEO for second time in two years

21 Mar 14

Symantec has sacked president and CEO Steve Bennett, the second top executive dismissal at the company in two years.

Announced via an official statement issued this morning, the antivirus provider reports that its board of directors has appointed board member Michael Brown as interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.

A special committee of the board will immediately begin the search for a permanent CEO with the assistance of a leading executive search firm.

"This considered decision was the result of an ongoing deliberative process, and not precipitated by any event or impropriety," says chairman Daniel Schulman, on behalf of the board.

"We recognize Steve's contributions to Symantec, including developing and leading a series of successful initiatives focused on organizational realignment, cost reduction and process effectiveness.

"These changes have helped establish a solid foundation for Symantec's future, and we remain committed to our previously announced greater-than 5% organic revenue growth and better-than 30% non-GAAP operating margin targets by FY17.

"Our priority is now to identify a leader who can leverage our company's assets and leadership team to drive the next stage of Symantec's product innovation and growth.

"This considered decision was the result of an ongoing deliberative process, and not precipitated by any event or impropriety."

Brown joined Symantec's board of directors following the company's merger with VERITAS Software in July 2005, and previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of Quantum Corporation.

Under his leadership, Quantum grew from $3 billion to $6 billion in revenues and held market leadership positions in data back-up and archiving solutions.

More recently, Brown has been a board chairman and chief executive officer coach for several successful technology companies prior to their acquisitions, including EqualLogic, Line 6 and The Echo Nest.

"With recent key hires, we have a leadership team in place that is capable of accelerating our growth and I look forward to working closely with them to help execute the next phase of the company's transformation plan," Brown says.

"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.

"By concentrating on product innovation and growth initiatives, we aim to leverage Symantec's tremendous assets across both consumer and enterprise applications to enhance our position as a market leader."

As interim president and chief executive officer, Brown will work with Symantec's executive team to facilitate an orderly leadership transition while overseeing the company's ongoing transformation.

Brown will remain on Symantec's board, but will no longer serve on its Compensation and Leadership Development Committee or Nominating and Governance Committee. Board member Robert S. Miller will replace Brown as the chair of the Compensation and Leadership Development Committee.

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