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Symantec ditches CEO after disappointing results

Enrique Salem replaced by Steve Bennett

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Under pressure for disappointing financials, Symantec has abruptly replaced its CEO Enrique Salem with chairman Steve Bennett, the company has announced.

Symantec's public statements made almost no attempt to gloss over Salem's upending after a three-year reign in which the company has fallen out of favour, its most recent quarterly profits falling 10 percent year-on-year. Salem had worked for the vendor for almost two decades.

"It was in the board's judgment that it was in the best interests of Symantec to make a change in the CEO. My view is that Symantec's assets are strong and yet the company is under-performing against the opportunity," Bennett said in a press release.

“The board’s decision to make a leadership change was not based on any particular event or impropriety but was instead made after ongoing consideration and a deliberative process,” chimed newly-appointed 'lead' director, Dan Schulman.
 
The company's share price jumped by up to 17 percent in the hours after the news, the biggest upward swing since the dot.com era.

Salem's exit will still be seen by some outside the firm as a symptom of desperation. A number of once-mighty security vendors that emerged from Symantec's era have also struggled to adapt to a changing market, One – McAfee – ended up being acquired by Intel in 2010.

Last week's minor debacle when an update to Symantec's Endpoint Protection caused some customer's systems to 'blue screen' was probably not connected to his departure but won't have helped. The company was criticised for poor support in the hours after the problem came to light.



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