With the retirement of John W. Thompson, Symantec may be losing its best asset

It came as a surprise to hear that John W. Thompson, Symantec’s chairman and CEO, will retire at the end of this fiscal year.

Enrique Salem will replace him as CEO and let me tell you, he has big shoes to fill.
Thompson had presence in the market. He is a dynamic speaker and is able to get his point across in very few words. I had the opportunity of interviewing him only twice. Both times, I witnessed this talent.

The first interview was going over our time limit and one of his handlers basically told him that he had to go. Thompson, without shifting his eyes from me and in a pleasant tone, said “I’m enjoying this.” The assistant immediately understood and backed away.

In the second interview, I tried to pin him down on how well Symantec’s Canadian subsidiary was doing over other others around the world. He again, without shifting his eyes from me and in a pleasant tone, said “I love all my children.” I took that to understand that no matter how great Symantec Canada was performing he wasn’t going to single it out over any other country operation.

The other John Thompson, the former vice chairman of IBM and current TD Canada Trust chairman of the board, told me during an interview for CDN’s 20th Anniversary issue that one of his proudest moments as an executive was when John W. Thompson was named CEO of Symantec. Thompson hired him at IBM.

I can’t begin to describe the job that John W. Thompson did at Symantec. He transformed the company from consumer software publisher into a powerhouse security and storage vendor. You can argue that Thompson put the issue of security on the map. Under Thompson’s watch, Symantec dramatically increased its customer base and grew the revenues tenfold.

One quick hit before I go. Derick Wong has left Microsoft Canada to join CA in a worldwide capacity as its new senior director of product marketing Workload Automation. Wong has always been generous with his time to CDN, and we wish him all the best.

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