Symantec Corporation sacked its President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett as slowdown in PC sales saw Symantec’s revenue decline. The company has also been struggling to hack into the mobile devices market.
Bennett took over the helm as chief executive in July 2012, replacing Enrique Salem, who was also sacked after serving for three years. Bennett has been replaced by director Michael Brown, who will serve as interim CEO as search for permanent replacement begins.
Mountain View, California-based Symantec, the world biggest PC security software maker, saw its shares plummet 13 percent or $2.71 to $18.20 at the close of trade in New York, its biggest slump since July 2009. This resulted in a downgrade of its stock by Robert W. Baird & Co, MKM Partners and UBS AG.
“It’s jaw-dropping,” said Daniel Ives, a New York-based analyst at FBR Capital Markets & Co. “Bennett is the face of the turnaround at Symantec. Investors bought into him leading this turnaround, so the fact that now he gets fired at this critical juncture, I view it as a major black eye.”
Since Bennett’s appointment, Symantec’s share had risen 40 percent until Thursday as investors exuded optimism that he would deliver consistent results, reported Reuters.
“The first year was terrific, the last six months have been terrible,” said Israel Hernandez, an analyst at MKM Partners. “I think he got success with the low hanging fruit initially, but when he started to tackle the difficult challenge of changing the sales culture and reorganizing the sales organization … that’s when the cookie crumbled,” Hernandez said.
Bennett is expected to be paid about $18.5 million as severance pay. In the fiscal year ending March 2013, he earned a total compensation of $13 million.
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